The ZEW provides external scientists with a range of research data sets. The ZEW research data offered at ZEW-FDZ is individual data collected through ZEW business surveys and ZEW expert surveys.

Data from certain ZEW surveys will be accessible for external scientists in a factually anonymized form of Scientific Use Files. In addition to the usage of these Scientific Use Files, external scientists have the opportunity to work with formally anonymized ZEW data within FDZ premises at ZEW on request. Formally anonymized data sets contain neither names nor addresses but all other original data of the interviewed people and are stored on a stand-alone computer without network connection which does not allow downloading any data. Since June 2023, ZEW is also providing a secure remote access connection for a selection of certain ZEW research data via the University of Mannheim's access to the bwCloud. With regard to the Mannheim Innovation Panel (MIP) absolutely anonymized Education Use Files have been created for the use in teaching.

The use of ZEW data by external researchers is limited to  research projects. In particular commercial or any other business purposes, involving expert opinions – free of charge or against payment – for private or public clients, is not permitted. The use of data in the context of teaching is also forbidden, with the exception of the MIP Education Use Files. The external researches are required to work for a publicly funded research institution (§16 (6) BSTATG). ZEW data is provided for doctoral candidates and PhD students in particular.

The ZEW-FDZ has been accredited by the German Data Forum (RatSWD).

Information on the German Data Forum's Complaints Service

In July 2016, the German Data Forum set up a complaints service. A contact form on the German Data Forum's homepage enables you to report problems to the RatSWD, which have arisen during your use of FDZ data and which you have been unable to solve with the help of FDZ.
The contact form as well as details regarding responsible bodies and the complaints procedure can be found on the German Data Forum's website.

KonsortSWD started

The joint efforts to significantly expand the infrastructure for research data in the social, behavioral, educational and economic sciences have begun. The funding phase for the first nine National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI) consortia began on October 1. As a partner of the Consortium for Social, Behavioral, Educational, and Economic Sciences (KonsortSWD), we are pleased to be among the first to participate in this joint effort. The NFDI will bring improvements for researchers in terms of access but also in terms of linking research data. Further information can be found on the new website www.konsortswd.de/en/.