An Administrative Data Taskforce (ADT), which was set up to examine the best ways to make administrative data safely available for research, has just published a report to take the project forward.
The ADT, which was set up in 2011 by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Medical Research Council (MRC) and Wellcome Trust, has been working with a range of UK government departments, academic experts and funding agencies to look at how administrative data could be better accessed by government departments and researchers.
It recommends forming a UK Administrative Data Research Network that would be responsible for linking data between government departments, with an Administrative Data Research Centre (ADRC) established in each of the four countries in the UK. It also recommends enacting legislation – and providing funding – to facilitate research access to administrative data and allow linkage between government departments. Other recommendations include establishing a researcher accreditation process and implementing a strategy to engage with the public.
Professor Paul Boyle, chief executive of the ESRC, said: ‘Our recommendations would allow research that is already technically feasible to be undertaken with integrity in a much more consistent, reliable and efficient manner. This would be of huge value to academic research, but would also benefit research and policy evaluation within government departments, whose researchers are also constrained by the existing arrangements.’
Hetan Shah, executive director of the RSS, said: ‘This report makes some important recommendations to look at how the open data agenda can move forward to strengthen research in society. We are very supportive of this, and will be taking a careful look at the recommendations and finding ways to allow for them to be discussed and raised up the agenda’.
The full report is available here