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Sensitive data: publishing and sharing

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This comprehensive 26 page Guide outlines best practice for the publication and sharing of sensitive research data in the Australian context. For a short overview see ANDS Introduction to Sensitive Data.

Key messages

  • The advantages of publishing your sensitive data will probably far outweigh any potential disadvantages when simple and appropriate steps are taken.
  • Publishing your data, or just a description of your data (that is the metadata), means that others can discover and cite it.
  • You can publish a description of your data without making the data itself openly accessible.
  • You can place conditions around access to published data.
  • Sensitive data that has been confidentialised can be shared.

The Guide follows the sequence, detail and context to the steps necessary for publishing and sharing sensitive data.  These steps are summarised in the Decision Tree poster (PDF, 0.17 MB)

The Guide covers

  • Defining sensitive data:  Data about people and endangered species
  • How to publish and share sensitive data
  • What's legal?
  • Confidentialising human and personal data in 3 Steps
  • 'Sort of sensitive' - Grey areas
  • Methods of modifying data to limit identification
  • Ethical considerations:  What to include in a consent form requesting data publication and sharing
  • Sharing sensitive data that you did not collect
  • Data citation
  • Conditional access to data: What is it; how do I do it?
  • An example of published metadata with conditional access to data: The Australian Longitudinal Study of Women's Health (ALSWH)
  • Licensing
  • Your right to publish
  • How do I know if I own the copyright for the data?
  • Where should I publish my data?
  • Relevant National Guidelines
  • Related international guides
  • References