Findings of the NFDI4Ing Community Survey 2022

NFDI4Ing conducted its second annual community survey on the topic of research data management (RDM) in the engineering sciences. The findings will help tailor the consortium’s services precisely to the needs of engineers. Counting on your support, the third survey has just started.
Image credit: “Research Data Diversity” by Heinz-Vale, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The NFDI4Ing Community Surveys

NFDI4Ing has conducted two community surveys so far, one in 2019 and one in 2022. A third survey has just started in September 2023 and is still running. We welcome your participation!

The 2019 survey initially identified the needs and requirements for handling research data in the engineering community. Its results directly influenced the development of the NFDI4Ing archetypes and services. The focus of the 2022 survey was mainly on the level of awareness of NFDI4Ing in the engineering community.

In the most recent survey, a total of 509 questionnaires were answered, 258 of which were completed in whole. 85% of the respondents stated that they were predominantly engaged in research. 40% said that their responsibilities also included administration, teaching or continuing education. The largest group in the sample is made up of temporary (post-)doctoral students and/or research assistants (72%), followed by professors (19%) at universities (incl. universities of applied sciences) or non-university research institutions of the Länder or the federal government. Researchers from all subject areas of the engineering sciences as defined in the DFG classification of scientific disciplines participated in the survey. 

The central goals were to assess the reach of NFDI4Ing, record the working methods and support needs in the community, and survey the existence of a data strategies and availability of support for RDM at research institutions. In addition, socio-demographic information was collected in order to enable sub-group-specific needs analyses and to identify differences in usage behaviour and availabilities.

NFDI4Ing is largely known in the community

The awareness of NFDI4Ing among respondents from all engineering disciplines was 60%  (n = 155), of which 28% (n = 43) currently use or previously used NFDI4Ing services. Among these, the types of support or services used are mainly training (33%) and events (31%). Organisational support (17%) and technological support (8%) were used less commonly at the time of the survey.

The findings in detail:

The main areas in which respondents expressed a general need for support are conceptual and concerning basic RDM infrastructures (support in entire RDM process 53%, collecting meaningful metadata 53%, sharing and publishing data 51%, standardising data 48%, organizing data 47%, archiving data 46%). The need for help with collecting data (21%) and processing/analysing data (36%) is less pronounced in the survey sample. 

From their research institutions, the respondents mainly want further training (57%), formal policies for handling research data (57%) and support e.g., from data stewards (47%). For all respondents (n=258), a comprehensive service offered by NFDI4Ing should primarily include advice on technical or legal questions (66% and 55%, respectively) as well as advice on general questions regarding the handling of research data (54%). Interest in the use of automated evaluation procedures (such as text & data mining) was expressed by 56%. Only 10% of the community members surveyed require no additional support of any kind.

NFDI4Ing Community Survey 2022: Bedarfe an Serviceleistungen durch NFDI4Ing by Tom Hensel CC BY 4.0

To sum up

In summary, the results show that the NFDI4Ing is well perceived in the engineering disciplines, but there is still potential to improve its reach. In order to determine how the level of awareness of NFDI4Ing has developed over the past year and to what extent the services and tools offered are useful to the community, NFDI4Ing is again conducting a community survey in 2023. This third feedback round has been running since the end of September 2023.

Call for Participation

If you are an engineering researcher and would like to support the work of NFDI4Ing, please take part in our ongoing NFDI4Ing Community Survey 2023. By doing so, you will help us to evaluate and question ourselves and our progress towards our goal of providing targeted support for engineers in the handling of research data.

Click here to go to the survey: (available in English and German).