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Ethics and data sharing


Ethics poster

Sharing of data from human research is possible. Everyone can play a role in promoting and supporting sharing of this data.

Research administrators

  • Encourage data sharing by ensuring that ethics forms include relevant questions.
  • Encourage an institutional approach to data management planning by creating or supporting data management planning policies.
  • Support institutional data archives to develop policies for managing sensitive data.

Human research ethics committees

    The ANDS Guide on Data sharing considerations for Human Research Ethics Committees is a practical approach to how HRECs can support the safe sharing of sensitive data through:

  • Encouraging safe data sharing.
  • Requesting that data management plans be attached to ethics applications.
  • Providing advice to researchers about designing their research so the data can later be shared.
  • Adding a question to your ethics application form: "Is there any reason NOT to share the data from this project?”
  • Adding suggested wording to your Institution’s participant information sheets and consent forms that ask for permission from participants to share data.
  • Ensuring that researchers intending to re-use data adhere to the original ethics approval conditions for which consent from the original participants was obtained.
  • Establishing a framework for considering applications that wish to use new forms of data (e.g. social media feeds, government information, data derived from tracking systems). The OECD provides guidance in their report: Research Ethics and new Forms of Data for Social and Economic research.


    The ANDS Guide to Publishing and sharing sensitive data offers practical advice to researchers on how to:

  • Plan to share data when you design your project.
  • Seek approval from your human research ethics committee to share your data.
  • Obtain informed consent from participants to share their data.
  • De-identify the data and/or restrict access to it (conditional access).

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