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FORS, committed to qualitative data

Beginning in September 2017 all data and metadata produced within projects financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) must be archived in non-commercial digital databanks. This new policy of the SNSF presents new issues, notably concerning qualitative data, the archiving and reuse of which can be challenging. In order to best respond to these new requirements, FORS offers you not only an infrastructure suitable for archiving and sharing your data, but also expertise in the management of data by way of workshops and conferences, as well as support during the implementation of projects.


FORS makes available to all researchers in the social sciences an infrastructure that allows for archiving and sharing of their data, both qualitative and quantitative. Conforming to FAIR principles, FORSbase addresses throughout the specific requirements of the SNSF. Conceived to handle the different needs of researchers and taking into account the particularities of data produced by qualitative methodologies – sensitivity, ethical issues – FORSbase provides freedom for researchers to determine access conditions for their archived data. It is thus possible to filter requests for access on a case by case basis, to opt for a partial access to data, or when deemed necessary, to fix an embargo on the whole project. FORS encourages researchers nevertheless to choose solutions favouring sharing, even partially, of their data.

Consultation / advice

With the aim of facilitating data sharing, FORS is currently involved in methodological, ethical, and practical reflections in relation to the archiving and reuse of qualitative data. This involves the preparation of working papers and guidelines addressed to the scientific community with the aim of stimulating exchange and delineating this still little known field. In addition, FORS continues to develop its expertise with respect to the “applied” management of data. By this we mean the daily practices that aim to improve the quality and potential of data produced by researchers throughout the implementation of their projects, beginning with the securing of financing.


FORS is currently involved in the organisation of different trainings and workshops targeting young as well as experienced researchers. Among these, the French language edition of the Swiss Methods Festival for Qualitative Research, taking place every two years in Lausanne, offers a platform for exchange for people wishing to learn about different research methodologies. A series of trainings organised within the framework of the Conférence universitaire de Suisse occidententale is also planned for 2018 on topics such as anonymization, archiving, and ethics in qualitative research.

Are you interested in archiving your qualitative data? Do you have questions regarding practical aspects of data management (e.g., informed consent, anonymization)? Then contact us!


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