Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - English


Dear scientist, below you will find answers to frequently asked questions about participating in the BSS.

What is the aim of the Berlin Science Survey?
With the Berlin Science Survey, we gain insights into the research situations of scientists from various research fields at German universities and non-university research institutions. We are particularly interested in the following topics: Research practices, research quality, cooperative relationships, open science practices, knowledge transfer, promotion of young talents and good framework conditions for research. The BSS provides accompanying research on the measures of the Berlin University Alliance with the goal of critically reflecting on these measures. In doing so, we would like to obtain the scientists’ perspectives. Because only you can tell us what is going well and what is going badly for you.

How time-consuming is it to take part?
You will need around 15-20 minutes to complete the online questionnaire. On the one hand, we will ask you to assess the general framework conditions in academia and at your institution and, on the other hand, we will ask you about your research practices within your research field.
We would be delighted if you would also take part in the follow-up surveys that follow every two yeasr, which will give us a longitudinal perspective on changes in the research cultures of the individual disciplines.

How can I participate?
If you are a researcher at one of the four Berlin University Alliance institutions or work at a non-university research institution in Berlin, you will receive an invitation from us. We will also send invitations to academics from the Universities of Excellence in Germany.
If you have not yet received an invitation from us, even though you belong to one of the named groups and would like to participate, please send us an e-mail to:

Where did you get my e-mail address?
If your contact details are publicly accessible via your institution's website, then we have researched your email address from there. If your contact details are not publicly accessible, you will have received an invitation from us as part of a mailing via the respective institution management (e.g. university executive board), without us having access to the relevant email distribution list and therefore your email address.

Can I omit certain information from the questionnaire?
Of course, you can. The survey is voluntary and you can also omit answers to individual questions. However, please bear in mind that we have carefully selected the questions and can only carry out all the planned analyses if the questionnaires are completed in full.

What happens to my data?
During the survey you will be asked to provide information about your research experience and research practices, so-called survey data.
We store this information separately from your contact data in a protected area on the in-house servers of Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. Your contact details cannot be linked to your survey data. The contact data will only be used for the purposes for which you have given your consent.
Data will not be passed on to third parties and data evaluations are always aggregated in order to exclude the possibility of tracing back to individual participants.
You can find more information about data protection in the Berlin Science Survey here.

I have the impression that I can be identified with my detailed answers. Is the survey anonymous at all?
The detailed questions at the beginning of the survey give rise to doubts about the anonymity of the survey for small research fields or people with a special CV, as respondents consider themselves to be identifiable. We ask about some circumstances and stages of the CV in great detail because this makes it easier to answer. However, this does not jeopardize the anonymity of the survey, as this does not mean that it is not "possible" to identify individual persons from the raw data. This is often possible by combining several characteristics in individual cases. For this reason, only the employees of the project have access to the raw data, who are obliged to comply with data protection regulations. The employees then process the raw data in such a way that the evaluations and published results do not allow any conclusions to be drawn about individual persons.
For example, we use the year of appointment later in the processing to approximate the experience within the status group of professors. In the evaluations, the characteristic no longer appears as a year and is also not cross-tabulated with the research field. The subjects themselves were also aggregated to 5 subject groups, so that several smaller subjects are then grouped together with others. Quantitative analyses would not be possible otherwise. In the survey, however, most respondents find it easier to state their specific subject or (DFG review board) than to assign themselves to a coarser classification, which tends to lead to ambiguities and misclassifications.

Can my university/institution see my answers?
No. This is not possible. The data will be stored anonymously and will not be passed on to anyone outside the BSS team. Results will only be published in aggregated form.
How and when will I find out about the results of the study?
You are welcome to subscribe to our newsletter so that we can inform you about the latest results. You can also find out about the latest results at any time on this homepage.
If your questions have not yet been answered, please contact us at:
Your Berlin Science Survey team!