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Frequently Asked Questions


1 About RADAR

What is RADAR?

RADAR is a multidisciplinary repository for archiving and publishing research data. The focus of RADAR is on research data of the so-called "long tail" disciplines, i.e. from disciplines that deal with smaller amounts of data and usually do not yet have their own infrastructure for research data management. The service is currently only aimed at publicly funded research institutions in Germany. An offer to other institutions, also abroad, is in preparation.

Who operates RADAR?

RADAR is a service for academic research and is supported by renowned German scientific institutions. RADAR is offered and operated by FIZ Karlsruhe - Leibniz Institute for Information Infrastructure. The technical infrastructure is provided by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) via its Steinbuch Centre for Computing (SCC) and the TU Dresden with its Centre for Information Services and High Performance Computing (ZIH). The Leibniz Information Cenre for Science and Technology (TIB) supports FIZ Karlsruhe in consulting, training and marketing. In addition, RADAR obtains the Digital Object Identifiers (DOI) required for data publication from TIB (DataCite).

How is RADAR funded?

RADAR was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) from September 2013 to August 2016. During this period, a sustainable, transparent business model was developed to ensure the long-term operation of RADAR. It is based on usage-based fees, contract fees and institutional funding. RADAR has been in regular operation since March 2017 and does not require project-related funding.

What is the RADAR software based on? How is the software licensed?

RADAR is a hosted service. The software used consists of the archive solutions at the Steinbuch Centre of Computing (SCC) and the Centre for Information Services and High Performance Computing (ZIH), the repository management middleware and the frontend (user interface). Middleware and frontend are completely based on open source software (including Cassandra and ElasticSearch). The archive solutions at SCC (HPSS) and ZIH (SpectrumProtect) are partly commercial and not part of the RADAR software.

Is RADAR certified?

The RADAR team is currently working on certification as a "Trustworthy Data Repository" according to the guidelines of the new Core Trust Seal, a joint initiative of DANS and the World Data System (WDS) under the umbrella of the Research Data Alliance (RDA).

2 Requirements for the Use of RADAR

Who is RADAR aimed at?

RADAR is currently only aimed at publicly funded research institutions in Germany that want to offer researchers an infrastructure for research data management. RADAR focuses in particular on research data from the so-called "long tail" disciplines, i.e. from disciplines that deal with smaller amounts of data and usually do not yet have their own infrastructures.
Services for institutions that are not publicly funded or are not located in Germany are in preparation.

What requirements must be met in order to use RADAR?

The use of RADAR as an infrastructure for the management of research data at an institution requires the conclusion of a service contract between the institution and FIZ Karlsruhe. More information about the contract, the RADAR service description and the terms of use can be found here.

Why does RADAR cost something and how much?

RADAR's business model is based on sustainability and transparency. It is based on usage-dependent fees, contract fees and institutional support. The prices depend on the data volume and the service used. For more information, please refer to the RADAR price list.

Is it necessary to conclude a contract before using RADAR?

In order to publish or archive research data with RADAR, research institutions must first sign a contract with FIZ Karlsruhe. RADAR offers interested institutions the opportunity to test the service in advance without obligation via the test system. In order to view and download published dataset, neither a contract nor a registration is necessary. However, data users must adhere to the terms of use.

Can contracts be viewed in advance?

The RADAR customer contract is available here.

Is there a way to test RADAR without obligation?

Yes, you can test RADAR for your institution free of charge and without any obligations via our test system. For more information on the test system, please refer to this page.

3 RADAR for Institutions

What services does RADAR offer?

With RADAR, research data can be archived or published. Archived datasets are stored securely for user-defined periods. For example, the German Research Foundation (DFG) recommends keeping research data for a period of 10 years. In RADAR, data providers can choose retention periods between 5 and 15 years. By default, archived datasets and the descriptions (metadata) are not publicly accessible unless the data provider specifies otherwise. Published datasets are made publicly accessible. Optionally, data providers can define an embargo period. The data can then only be accessed publicly after this period has expired. RADAR assigns a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) to each published dataset. This makes it possible to uniquely identify a dataset, connect it to publications and reliably cite it. RADAR guarantees secure storage of at least 25 years for published datasets. In order to improve the findability  and interpretation of the data, datasets can be described with discipline-specific metadata. With RADAR, data can be reviewed before publication, for example as part of a peer review process. For this purpose, data providers in RADAR can create non-public links and pass them on to reviewers. In addition, RADAR provides an API that allows RADAR customers to offer the service via their own user interface.

How much does the service cost?

In addition to an annual contract fee, costs comprise usage-based fees, which depend on data volumes and the service used. The costs for data archiving depend on the amount of data stored and the retention period. For the publication of datasets, RADAR offers a one-off payment based on the data volume. The current price list can be found here. These prices apply exclusively to universities and research institutions. When applying for funding, applicants can add the costs for the publication or archiving of research data with RADAR to the application and thus procure funding for making use of RADAR services.

How can others access the datasets?

Published datasets can be viewed publicly and access is free of charge. The license terms specified by the data provider apply to the reuse of the dataset.
Archived datasets are generally not publicly accessible (dark archive). However, the data provider can grant individual registered users access to a dataset.

How long are published and archived data stored in RADAR?

For archived datasets, the data provider determines the retention period (5, 10, or 15 years). The dataset is then securely archived by RADAR for this period (dark archive). The data provider can access the dataset at any time.
For published datasets, RADAR guarantees the availability of the data for a period of at least 25 years. If necessary, the data provider can define an embargo period. In that case, the dataset will only be published after this period has expired.

What measures for the long-term preservation of datasets does RADAR take?

The data transfer to the storage layer is carried out via standardized protocols (SFTP, GridFTP). Data is stored using modern disk and tape systems. These offer several petabytes of storage space. A storage management system (high-performance storage system - HPSS) ensures efficient data access and allows cost-effective long-term storage. System reliability is ensured by multiple copies stored at different locations using different technologies. The use of Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) and the system monitoring itself ensure the data security of the administrative components, such as databases, in the system. The data itself is available as BagIt structures in ZIP containers, i.e. the data is stored in well-documented containers. Each archived dataset consists of a file that is self-descriptive in itself (containing the data itself and the descriptive metadata record). For the interpretation of the BagIt structures no special software is necessary.
RADAR currently only ensures the physical preservation of datasets (Bitstream Preservation), a functional long-term preservation with format migration is currently not planned.
RADAR does not guarantee the permanent usability or interpretability of the data contained in a dataset, as these depend on the data formats selected by the data provider. RADAR therefore recommends the use of file formats that are suitable for long-term preservation.

Is the data stored redundantly?

Yes, three copies are stored at three locations (2 x Karlsruhe, 1 x Dresden). Different software and hardware systems are in use. The systems in Karlsruhe and Dresden are organizationally and administratively completely separated from each other.

Is the integrity of the data checked during the retention period?

Before being transferred to permanent storage, datasets are provided with a checksum, which is checked after each duplication. By comparing checksums, errors can be detected and eliminated during data transmission. When accessing a dataset, the checksum is calculated again and compared with the stored value in order to identify possible data consistency errors. If an error should be detected, RADAR accesses the second copy at the other location. The storage media used are replaced at the latest when the manufacturer's warranty expires. The affected datasets are migrated to new storage media and checked to avoid bit errors ("fixity checks").

Is there a possibility for institutions using RADAR to influence the further development of RADAR?

Yes, the RADAR User Advisory Council, consisting of representatives of RADAR-using institutions, advises FIZ Karlsruhe on the further development of the RADAR service both from a technical point of view (product roadmap and prioritization of new functionalities) and from an organizational point of view (e.g. contracts and billing models). Together with the advisory board, RADAR is thus consistently pursuing the demand-oriented further development begun during the DFG project phase themed "from the community - for the community" also in productive operation.

4 RADAR for Researchers

What are the advantages of archiving or publishing research data with RADAR?

As more and more data is generated during research processes, the appropriate management of this data is becoming more important. This view is increasingly shared by research funding agencies, which increasingly tie the allocation of funding to requirements concerning data.
The storage of research data in RADAR ensures that these requirements are met and research adheres to the rules for good scientific practice.
In addition, the publication of scientific data increases the visibility and traceability of research. Third parties can find and cite datasets, leading to the reuse of research results.

How does RADAR support researchers in publishing research results?

RADAR services can be integrated into the process of publishing journal articles. If a journal requires the publication of the underlying research data, researchers can publish their data on RADAR and connect the unique DOI of the dataset to the journal article. The data can also be reviewed prior to publication, for example as part of a peer review process. For this purpose, data providers can generate a non-public link to the dataset that can then be passed on to the reviewers.

How does RADAR support researchers in creating a Data Management Plan (DMP)?

Researchers can refer to RADAR services when describing the storage or archiving strategy in data management plans. Archived and published datasets receive a unique and persistent identifier that can serve as proof of sustainable data storage for funding institutions. When applying for funding, applicants can add the costs of publishing or archiving research data with RADAR into the application and thus procure the necessary means to make use of RADAR services. The current price list can be found here.

Is there a recommended storage period for research data?

In its recommendations for "Safeguarding Good Scientific Practice", the German Research Foundation (DFG) suggests the storage of data on which publications are based for a period of 10 years. This period is often mentioned in the context of research data management. Nevertheless, there is no general recommendation for data retention periods across all disciplines. Depending on the field of research, service providers or institutions, different requirements can come into effect.
When archiving data with RADAR, data providers can select the retention period for datasets (5, 10 or 15 years). If necessary, the retention period can be extended. For published datasets, RADAR guarantees the availability of the data for at least 25 years.

5.1 Upload Data

How do I upload data to RADAR?

To upload data to RADAR, you must be a registered user and have curator or subcurator rights.

Which data types and formats can be archived and published with RADAR?

RADAR does not impose any restrictions on the type or format of data.
For example, datasets in RADAR can contain raw data or data in different processing stages. RADAR recommends formats that are suitable for long-term preservation. For more information, please refer to the Glossary entry for file formats.
No data subject to data protection laws may be stored with RADAR.

Can datasets still be processed after being uploaded to RADAR?

As long as a dataset is in the pending status, changes can still be made to its content and description.
Once the dataset has been archived or published by the curator, no further changes can be made. This ensures that the dataset can be cited. If changes or corrections are necessary after archiving or publication, a new version of the dataset can be created with a reference to the original version in the description (using the fields "Related Identifier" and "Relation Type").
If it should be necessary to delete a published dataset, RADAR will keep the landing page of the dataset to ensure referencing.

Can datasets be uploaded automatically?

Yes, automatic data transfer is possible via the RADAR API. More information about using the API can be found here.

What is the maximum file size that can be uploaded?

Depending on the browser used, uploads of at least 10 GB are possible via the RADAR user interface. Internet Explorer is only supported from version 11 onwards, since Microsoft has stopped maintaining older versions in 2016. The use of older versions therefore poses a potential security risk.

Larger files can only be transferred via HTTP clients such as Curl. The uploadURL / ingestURL can be requested via the API. More information about the RADAR API can be found here.

The limit set by the RADAR archive system is 600 GB. However, uploading or downloading files of this size is time-consuming.

Can personal data be stored in RADAR?

No personal data may be stored in RADAR. This restriction is stated in the RADAR Licence, Terms and Conditions  for Data Providers (Curators). Data Providers agree to these terms when a user contract is concluded.

5.2 Describing data

How are research data described in RADAR?

The description of datasets is one of the tasks of the (sub)curators. RADAR has developed a metadata schema for the description of research data that specifies 10 mandatory fields. The mandatory fields meet the requirements for the assignment of a DOI (Digital Object Identifier) for the dataset. The fields can be used across different scientific disciplines. In addition to the mandatory fields, 13 optional fields can be filled in. Thorough descriptions increase the visibility, findability and reusability of the dataset. The documentation of the RADAR metadata schema is available here

Are the dataset and metadata record checked for quality by RADAR?

The technical integrity of the dataset is checked by RADAR at regular intervals in the process of bitstream preservation. Checking the content of dataset is the responsibility of the data providers.
The metadata is automatically checked for completeness and validated before publication or archiving in RADAR.

Which databases and search engines can be used to find datasets published with RADAR?

RADAR uses the protocol OAI-PMH to offer metadata for automatic harvesting by search engines. The metadata is licensed under a CC0 license and can also be accessed through the DataCite metadata store. These measures ensure that the published datasets can be found through a variety of search engines and databases.

Can metadata be added automatically?

Yes, administrators and curators can compile XML-files containing metadata offline and upload them to RADAR. In this way, datasets can either be described individually or by adding default values that were predefined for an entire workspace. A template for XML-files is available online in RADAR. Metadata can also be uploaded automatically using the RADAR API. First steps for using the API can be found here.

How is the interoperability of metadata ensured?

The RADAR metadata schema is compatible with the widely used DataCite and Dublin Core metadata schemas. In addition, the RADAR metadata can be found and reused via the DataCite metadata store. A connection to ORCID is implemented.

In which languages can metadata records be entered?

The language for the metadata is chosen by the data provider. Optionally, a language for the dataset can be specified. A translation of the metadata into several languages is not yet planned.

Do licenses refer to the entire dataset or to individual files?

The license specified by the data provider refers to the entire dataset. If data providers want to specify different license terms for individual files, the data must be split into several dataset. RADAR recommends the use of Creative Commons licenses.

5.3 Storing, Archiving and Publishing Data

How long are datasets stored in RADAR?

The retention period for archived datasets is selected by the data provider and can range from 5 to 15 years. If necessary, the retention period can be adjusted, please contact RADAR for this purpose.
Published datasets are stored permanently. RADAR guarantees the availability of published datasets for at least 25 years.

Can the retention period be extended if necessary?

The retention period of archived datasets can be extended by renewing the contract. Permanent storage is provided for published datasets. RADAR guarantees the availability of published datasets for at least 25 years.

Are datasets deleted after the retention period?

Published datasets are available permanently (at least 25 years). For archived datasets, the specified contact person is informed half a year before the retention period ends. The administrator is informed again shortly before the deadline expires. If the customer does not act by the end of the retention period, the dataset will be deleted.

Can a dataset be published after a specified embargo period has expired?

The data provider can define an embargo period for datasets in RADAR. The descriptive metadata is published immediately after publication and the dataset is assigned a DOI. The research data can only be viewed publicly after the specified embargo period has expired.

Does RADAR provide persistent identifiers for datasets?

Published datasets are assigned a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) in RADAR. This makes unique and persistent identification as well as reliable citation of datasets possible.
Archived datasets receive a RADAR identifier.

How long does it take for a published dataset to receive a DOI?

RADAR assigns temporary DOIs for published datasets. This preliminary DOI can be passed on to third parties by the data provider. DOI resolving and forwarding to the storage location only works if the mandatory fields in the metadata form have been filled in and the dataset has been published.

What does a DOI refer to?

RADAR assigns a DOI to each published dataset. The data provider decides on the scope and granularity of a dataset. Depending on the context, it may be useful to combine one or more files in a .ZIP file and store them in a dataset.

Can published datasets be deleted?

Generally, published datasets can be deleted. In this case, the landing page with information about the dataset and a reference to the deletion is retained.

5.4 Searching and citing Data

How can third parties search for published datasets?

All users can search for published datasets in the RADAR database; prior registration is not required. RADAR offers users a free text search as well as a facet search. The easiest way to search for a specific dataset is via the unique DOI (Digital Object Identifier).
The RADAR search can also be used to find dataset that are made available for download after the end of an embargo period. Users can then view the descriptive metadata and quote the dataset.
Generally, archived datasets are not publicly available and cannot be found via the search.

Can RADAR also be used to search the contents of datasets?

No, the RADAR search function is based solely on the descriptive metadata records supplied by data providers.

Can I use RADAR to search for specific file formats?

Yes, RADAR provides a facet to search for specific file formats. For this purpose, please use the facet search option "Resource".

How are research data cited?

Generally, there are no binding rules for a specific format when citing research data. In accordance with international recommendations, RADAR proposes the following citation format:

Author(s) (year of publication): Title of the dataset. Publisher. Type of research data/resource type. Identifier (DOI)

On the landing page of each dataset, RADAR displays a citation suggestion.

5.5 Roles and Access Rights

Who can use RADAR?

Generally, anyone can use the storage service. However, the service is aimed at the needs of institutions and researchers who want to archive or publish research data.

What user roles are there in RADAR and what rights do they have?

RADAR is based on a clear distribution of roles and tasks.

Administrator: (Contract) administrators are people designated by the customer to set up and manage new workspaces in RADAR, assign the roles of curator or subcurator for a workspace to users, define the maximum available storage volume and view statistics. Administrators also decide which RADAR services (data publication or archiving) to use. A contract can have one or more administrators.

Curator: A curator is responsible for the research data of a workspace and is appointed by the administrator. A workspace may have one or more curators. The curator is a data provider with full rights who can transfer research data to RADAR, describe it with metadata and archive or publish it. Curators can designate additional persons as subcurators and grant individual registered users access to archived datasets.

Sub-curator: Subcurators are assigned to a specific workspace by the administrator or curator. A workspace can have one or more sub-curators. The subcurator is a data provider with restricted rights that can only transfer data to RADAR and describe it with metadata. Subcurators have read access to the datasets archived in their workspace.


Further information:

Graphical overview of RADAR´s rights and roles

RADAR Quickstart Guides for Administrators and Curators - offering a brief and descriptive overview of role-specific activities.

Can third parties access the data and descriptive metadata?

There are different modes of access depending on the selected RADAR service.
Archived datasets are generally not visible to third parties. However, curators can grant individual registered users access to archived datasets. The data provider decides whether third parties can access the metadata records. There are three options: publicly visible; visible to shared users; not visible.
Published datasets and their metadata records are publicly visible and can be downloaded by third parties. If necessary, the data provider can define an embargo period for a dataset. The dataset will then only be made accessible to third parties after this period has expired.

Can user rights be transferred?

User rights can be transferred in accordance with the RADAR terms and conditions. This may be necessary, for example, if responsibilities within an institution change.

In addition to registration with RADAR, are there other options for user authentification?

If your institution is participating in the DFN-AAI, you can log in using you Shibboleth credentials.