NSHD Data Sharing Committee


The review process

All proposals are considered by members of the LHA/NSHD Data Sharing Committee and by specialist reviewers if necessary. Proposals are considered by the LHA/NSHD Data Sharing Committee on a monthly basis.

As a general guideline, successful research proposals meet the following criteria:

  • No breach of confidence should be incurred
  • The use of the data should be within the bounds of consent given by cohort members, and comply with MRC guidance on ethics and research governance
  • There should be no risk to the viability or reputation of the study from use of the data supplied
  • The proposal should be from bone fide researchers working within an MRC recognised organisation who have the necessary expertise to undertake the project. In the case of students applying for access, their supervisor must be a co-applicant and ensure that appropriate academic and data security guidance are adhered to at all times

Researchers are encouraged to view the list of previously approved data sharing proposals to assess points of similarity or overlap with already existing projects.

The LHA/NSHD Data Sharing Committee reserves the right to prioritise applications where necessary. Projects that will incur significant extra work by LHA data management staff may be subject to a charge to cover the additional costs incurred by the LHA. Any such costs will be notified in advance.

Correspondence and timings for review of submissions

Receipt of your application will be notified using the email address you supplied. If you have not received an electronic confirmation of your submission within 10 working days please contact us.

The LHA/NSHD Data Sharing Committee meets once a month to assess all new applications to use NSHD data. In normal circumstances a decision will be taken by the LHA/NSHD Data Sharing Committee within two months of receipt of the proposal, however this is dependent upon the timing of the original proposal in relation to the meetings. Applicants will be notified by email if their application to use the data will be delayed beyond these time lines.

Rejected proposals and appeals procedure

In the unusual situation that the LHA/NSHD Data Sharing Committee cannot immediatley approve a proposal, the external researcher can appeal, in the first instance to the Director of the LHA. The Director may decide to grant the appeal or to refer it to an external independent body. Full details of the appeals procedure will be supplied to the applicants should this prove necessary.

Facilitated collaborations are required in the following circumstances and may involve additional conditions for use of the data: this list is indicative rather than exhaustive.

  • Proposals that require access to a specialist database created by a key collaborator or have required significant investments in time by the study team
  • Proposals that require access to sensitive data. Sensitive data include, but are not limited to, the cause and date of death of a study member, data on residential or emigration history, and medical and other information with small cell counts (e.g. some ICD hospital admissions, or childhood enuresis variables)
  • Proposals requiring access to data or meta-data that have not yet been through vigorous quality assurances protocols in place and will require a significant amount of time to check and/or clean
  • Proposals requiring access to extensive biomedical data or that significantly overlap with the current scientific programmes of the NSHD study team
  • Proposals from researchers outside the UK