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NSHD Data Sharing Committee

All proposals are reviewed 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. This meeting is chaired by the Director of the NSHD and consists of senior LHA scientists and NSHD operational heads.

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.

When proposals are similar to projects already approved, ongoing or are similar or complementary to LHA scientific programmes, researchers are encouraged to collaborate on a common project.

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.

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 swiftinfo@nshd.mrc.ac.uk.

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.

In the unusual situation that the LHA/NSHD Data Sharing Committee decides not to approve a proposal, the external researcher can appeal to the Risk Management Sub- Committee of the LHA/NSHD Steering Committee. Full details of the appeals procedure will be supplied to the applicants should this prove necessary.

When the LHA/NSHD Data Sharing Committee approves a proposal it will recommend the level of collaboration required with the NSHD study team. The collaboration required takes into account the quality, sensitivity or amount of data/meta-data requested, the extent of biomedical data requested, and the scientific investments of the NSHD study team and their key specialist collaborators The title and description of all approved projects will be made available on the NSHD website to registered users.

A NSHD co-ordinator may or may not be assigned to a research project by the LHA/NSHD data Sharing Committee. Research projects requiring access to limited curated and quality assured data that contain little biomedical, specialist or sensitive data and do not significantly overlap with the study team’s scientific objectives may not require a NSHD co-ordinator. Please see the NSHD website for further information on the current research objectives (http://www.nshd.mrc.ac.uk/research.aspx).

Facilitated collaborations between the external researcher and the NSHD study team are encouraged. This means that a NSHD co-ordinator (either from the study team or one their key expert collaborators) is assigned to help the external scientist make the best use of the NSHD archive, advise on interpretation of a specialist database, or supervise the use of sensitive or restricted data. In some circumstances this may lead to a full scientific collaboration. 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.
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