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Yes you can !

publish sensitive

Veerle Van den Eynden

UK Data Service
University of Essex

Publishing Better Science through Better Data

Nature Publishing Group, 14 November 2014

Sensitive data
Data to be protected against unwanted disclosure
People: sensitive personal information (Data Protection
e.g. health, race, criminal offences,
Biodiversity: if released to the public would result in an
adverse effect to the species or conservation activity1

Chapman AD, Grafton O (2008). Guide to Best Practices for Generalising Sensitive Species
Occurrence Data. Copenhagen: Global Biodiversity Information Facility. [

The UK Data Archive

Based at the University of Essex, since 1967
47 years of selecting, ingesting, curating and providing
access to social science data
Data and data support services for higher and further
education for research, teaching and learning
Attained the highest information security standard,
ISO 27001
Concordat with our National Statistical Institute (ONS)

UK Data Service
put together a collection of the most valuable data and
enhance these over time
preserve data in the long term for future research
make the data and documentation available for reuse
provide data management advice for data creators
provide support for users of the service
information about how data are used
easy access through website

Options for sharing data that may contain

sensitive information
Obtain informed consent, also for data sharing and
preservation / curation
Protect identities e.g. anonymisation, not collecting personal
Regulate access where needed (all or part of data) e.g. by
group, use, time period

Consent needed across the data life cycle

Engagement in the research process
decide who approves final versions of transcripts
Dissemination in presentations, publications, the web
decide who approves research outputs
Data sharing and archiving
consider future uses of data
Always dependent on the research context special cases
for covert research, verbal consent, etc.

Anonymising data
Direct identifiers often not essential research info
Indirect identifiers
Remove direct identifiers (or replace with pseudonyms)
e.g. names, address, institution, photo

Reduce precision/detail through aggregation

e.g. birth year vs. date of birth, occupational categories, area
rather than village

Generalise meaning of detailed text

e.g. occupational expertise

Restrict upper lower ranges to hide outliers

e.g. income, age

Managing data access

UK Data Service: web access to data and metadata

Data freely available for use; commercial use charges

Metadata / documentation always open

Data available under 3 access levels:

SAFEGUARDED End User Licence
(e.g. not identify any potentially identifiable individuals)
Special agreements: depositor permission; approved
Embargo for fixed time period
CONTROLLED only for accredited users
Access via on-site or virtual secure environment
(secure lab

Open about data with restricted access

Which data exist
Where data are kept, e.g. which repository
Who can access them
For which purpose
Under which conditions

Example: managed access ReShare

Example: managed access ReShare

Example: managed access ReShare

Example: managed access ICRAF


Where publish your data?

ReShare repository UK Data Service

self-deposit data repository for research data

scope: data resources of value to research and teaching
communities across and beyond the social science discipline (
Collections Development Policy)
ESRC award holders: contractual requirement to archive and share
their research data
customised version of EPrints, open-source digital repository

ReShare features

UK Federation Access authentication of data depositors and data

Pull related project information from RCUK Gateway to Research
(auto-fill 11 metadata elements: project-level, people, dates)
Publish metadata records to UK Data Service Discover portal
DOI minted
UKDS staff review data collections before publishing:
documentation sufficient
long-term file formats

ReShare access and licence options

Access options for individual files or zip bundles:

open access CC licence
safeguarded access - UK Data Service End User licence
permission access
embargo (up to 12 months)

Our data management guidance

Online best practice guidance:

Managing and Sharing Research Data a Guide to Good Practice:
(Sage Publications Ltd)
Helpdesk for queries:


Veerle Van den Eynden