Sharing data openly has become a straightforward process at the University of Bristol. The University’s top funders mandate or recommend data sharing as a condition of funding, and many publishers require access to research data to enable results of published articles to be verified. The University has provided a dedicated data repository to support this since 2015, and demand for open publication has risen steadily since its inception. However, an increasing number of requests for sharing data relate to data that has ethical, legal or commercial sensitivities and so cannot be published openly.
Rather than discuss the wide-ranging ethical implications of data sharing, this practice paper will focus on the secure sharing of sensitive data that has ethical approval and, where required, has the necessary consent in place, from the perspective of an institution that has already decided to undertake the work inherent in sharing sensitive data. The specific purpose is to detail the workflow and administrative tasks integral in this and to highlight the types of challenges encountered.
Issue date: 2018