Receive data request from researcher

Direct researcher to SHIP data access process

It is possible that researchers will contact you directly with requests to access data.  You are not obliged to provide data access exclusively through SHIP, though you are encouraged to do so, particularly where there is any potential associated privacy risk.  It is outlined at various points in this toolkit why using SHIP as a means for  providing access to data is likely to make the process more secure and more streamlined for you as a responsible data controller. 

  • If you do wish to use SHIP as the portal for sharing data, then you should direct researchers with whom you may potentially work to this toolkit and the online SHIP distance learning module so that they can prepare to submit a data request to you via SHIP.  
  • If you choose to direct a researcher to SHIP the SHIP Research Coordinator will then act as an intermediary between you and the researcher, meaning that you will only receive robust requests for access to data, for research purposes which are justifiable in the public interest and where the researchers themselves are well informed of and have sought to address potential privacy risks. 
  • The Research Coordinator will have a good understanding of the data access requests whose development they have supported, so if you require further information about the proposed project, they are your first point of contact. 
  • Any decision you make to provide a researcher with data through SHIP will be subject to an authorisation process proportionate to a privacy risk category assigned by the SHIP Research Coordinator according to transparent criteria.  This will provide you with assurance that any access to data that you propose to permit using SHIP can only occur once the potential risks and benefits have been independently assessed and the proper level of independent authorisation obtained.   

Provide information to assist researcher’s access request

Researchers using SHIP are responsible for building a robust case for data access in support of their request and for setting out the steps they will take to ensure data security.  Although their first port of call will usually be the SHIP Research Coordinator, it may be that you, as data custodian, are best able to provide them with particular information relevant to making a robust and thorough request.  In the interests of supporting well-informed requests you may wish to assist by providing the following kinds of advice:

  • Whether you are aware of similar research already being conducted
  • The quality and completeness of the data set
  • The consent conditions attached to uses of the data
  • Whether you are likely to require that a SHIP safe haven is used by anyone accessing the data for research
  • Any requirement for or obstacles to anonymisation of the data
  • Your organisation’s own information governance policies and practices

Your next step will then be to await a fully worked up data access request via the SHIP Research Coordinator, please visit the next station in this road map to see what you can expect from a request mediated by SHIP.

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