Funder(s): Economic and Social Research Council
MI Researcher(s): Graeme Laurie, Leslie Stevens

As part of the legal research strand of the ADRC, MI is working to produce original research in the area of data protection, data linkages, and research governance with emphasis on the safe and ethical use of administrative data in research. The ADRC-S is one of four new innovative administrative data research centres and a data service aimed at strengthening the UK’s competitive advantage in Big Data. The centres and service together form the Administrative Data Research Network (ADRN), which will enable research based on linked data between government departments to be overseen by a single governance structure that will allow consistent and robust decision-making.

Laurie and Stevens have continued their work in identifying the key barriers to data sharing within the UK and Scotland’s public sector and unpacking the ‘culture of caution’ surrounding public sector data. Their work has resulted in the creation of a practical tool – a decision-making matrix – to assist data controllers, data stewards and other institutions in their decisions to use and share data. Their decision-making matrix separates and identifies between many different issues (legal, ethical, and cultural) in hopes of clarifying which issues can be addressed within organisations and distinguishing between real versus perceived barriers to data sharing.