FEATURE17 November 2016

Data sharing: new day or false dawn?

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Data analytics Impact Legal Privacy UK

New government initiatives to promote data sharing are of potential benefit to market researchers, says Dr Michelle Goddard. Proving the public value of research projects will be key to grasping this opportunity


Sharing existing data sets can improve the delivery of services to citizens, as well as the robustness and rigour of statistics, helping people, organisations and government to make more informed decisions.  

There is untapped potential in recent government initiatives, opening up new opportunities for private sector researchers to access a wealth of useful statistical data in a responsible and ethical manner.  

Digital economy bill

The provisions in the Digital Economy Bill, which was introduced in parliament in July 2016, include a wide range of measures, but – importantly for researchers – offer a new approach to data sharing. This is intended to help with de-identified data, to support accredited researchers to access and link data in secure facilities to carry out research for public benefit.  

The bill proposes that a code of practice be developed to set out how to de-identify data so it may be shared without identifying individuals. This code will contain guidance on ...