Better governance, better access: practising responsible data sharing in the METADAC governance infrastructure
26 Apr 2018
Genomic and biosocial research data about individuals is rapidly proliferating, bringing the potential for novel opportunities for data integration and use. The scale, pace and novelty of these applications raise a number of urgent sociotechnical, ethical and legal questions, including optimal methods of data storage, management and access. Although the open science movement advocates unfettered access to research data, many of the UK’s longitudinal cohort studies operate systems of managed data access, in which access is governed by legal and ethical agreements between stewards of research datasets and researchers wishing to make use of them. Amongst other things, these agreements aim to respect the reasonable expectations of the research participants who provided data and samples, as expressed in the consent process. Arguably, responsible data management and governance of data and sample use are foundational to the consent process in longitudinal studies and are an important source of trustworthiness in the eyes of those who contribute data to genomic and biosocial research.
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