The working groups started off with the identification of existing data sources and definitions to be integrated into the standardisation process. With respect to the definitions this concerned existing specifications in the Frascati Manual as well as those used by CERIF, the Federal Statistical Office and by universities or research institutions. The concepts of interest had already been defined in the recommendations on the specification of a research core dataset. They were centred on (scientific and non-scientific) personnel, young researchers, third-party funding and projects, research prizes and awards, patents as well as publications. The full list of the concepts of interest as well as further explanations can be found in the recommendations on the specification of a research core dataset (2013). With respect to the data sources the project examined existing databases of the German Research Foundation (DFG – Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD – Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst), the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF – Bundesministeriums für Bildung und Forschung), the European Union (EU) and the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis – Statistisches Bundesamt) as well as research data gathered by universities and research institutions.
In April 2015, the first release of the specification (alpha release) was submitted to the advisory board of the project. The advisory board critically assessed the project results and discussed modifications. These changes were incorporated in beta release of the Research Core Dataset.
The beta release of the Research Core Dataset was made publicly available between June 2015 and August 2015. During that time, interested stakeholders and representatives of the German science system were offered the possibility to inform themselves about the contents and definitions of the Research Core Dataset and to comment on different aspects of the specification.
In this context, the project representatives also organised a forum to present and discuss the results of the standardisation project. The RCD Forum, which took place on 27 July 2015, offered interested stakeholders the possibility to discuss key aspects of the specification and potential areas of application. Participants were informed about the state of play of the project as well as the results, contents and definitions of the Research Core Dataset.