The Council´s scope of work is the strategic development of a contemporary and sustainable infrastructure for access to scientific Information. This is an area of rapid change in technology, requiring systemic and institutional adaptation, as well as international cooperation.
In an international context, the work of the Council covers a subset of research infrastructures, namely knowledge-based resources such as collections, archives or scientific data repositories and e-Infrastructures. E-Infrastructures are understood as ICT infrastructures for e-Science, where research resources (hardware, software and content) can be readily shared and accessed. This is an area of growing importance for the promotion of academic work.
The formation of the Council is part of the federal government´s Digital Agenda for Germany and is supported by the federal states via the Joint Science Conference (GWK) of the science and education ministers on federal and state level.
The 24 Council members participate on an honorary basis and were appointed by the Joint Science Conference (GWK). The plenum meets 2-3 times annually. Working groups and sub-committees are working on selected issues. The Council and its committees are supported by a team of five employees in the Head Office.
Currently, the Council focuses on the topic area of “research data – sustainability – internationality” which is understood to cover digital as well as analogue collections. In 2016, the RfII published its first recommendations “Performance through Diversity” in this topic area. RfII committees are working on further topics.
The members represent a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines, actors and institutions:
The first 16 representatives are appointed in a procedure similar to the one of the German Council of Science and Humanities. The other 8 representatives are nominated by the federal and state governments.
In the wake of international initiatives, e-Science, open access and data sharing were brought on the political agenda by a series of national reports and recommendations published between 2006 and 2012. In November 2013 the Joint Science Conference (GWK) agreed to establish the Council for Scientific Information Infrastructures for a pilot phase of four years from 2014 through 2018.
The Council´s Head Office was established at the University of Göttingen in 2014. It is jointly funded by the Federal States and the Federal Government of Germany. The next funding phase will be subject to an evaluation in 2017.