PLANNING THE DATA ACCESS REQUEST
Completion of the Data Access Request (DAR) itself is akin to completing a major grant funding application — it takes time, planning, and meticulous attention to detail. A major obstacle to timely access to data is an inadequate or incomplete application.
The Data Steward(s) require an exact description of the data required for a project in order to evaluate a request, and Population Data BC staff need a detailed description in order to prepare the appropriate data. A properly completed DAR will specify in detail the data needed for the research project, including a study population definition and a complete list of data files, fields and years of data.
Requests are assessed according to legislated requirements in the BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA), which only allows the disclosure of personal information if certain conditions are met, including: the exact nature of the data being requested, and how it will be used to fulfill the aims of the research project. The level of information in a standard research protocol is not sufficiently detailed to meet these two requirements. The DAR meets those needs and ensures that researchers are provided with the data they need to fulfill their research project objectives.
The application process requires that researchers:
Completion of a Data Access Request, the associated approval process and finally data preparation, can be a lengthy process. While we are working on reducing the timelines associated with an application, currently application to data delivery may take over a year. Researchers should be aware of this timeline when working on funding proposals and planning the course of their research. Population Data BC has guides and tips on how to reduce timelines for application processing, and routinely publishes the time frames of our last 10 projects. See application processing.
Feasibility and cost estimates
Please note that Population Data BC strongly recommends that Researchers request a Feasibility and Cost Estimate Letter for the purposes of grant applications. You can request this online. Population Data BC can provide the letter within 1-2 weeks. Please see Estimates for grant applications, or talk to a Researcher Liaison for more information.
Data-linking Initiatives and Privacy Impact Assessments
BC’s Freedom of Information and the Protection of Privacy Act requires that any project that meets the criteria of a Data-linking Initiative provide early notice of their project to the Privacy Commissioner of BC. If your project meets the criteria, you should submit a Privacy Impact Assessment to the Privacy Commissioner for review when you are ready to submit a Data Access Request.
To determine whether or not your research project meets the criteria of a Data-linking Initiative please use PopData’s “Self-Assessment Tool for Data-Linking Initiatives”. PopData has provided this tool, reviewed to the satisfaction of the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC), to aid researchers in complying with the legislation. PopData takes no responsibility for decisions made when using the tool. PopData is unable to aid the researcher in using the tool, in developing early notice and Privacy Impact Assessments or in submitting these documents to the OIPC.
For more information on Data-linking Initiatives and the requirements of the legislation, please contact the OIPC by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (250) 387-5629. Callers outside Victoria can contact the office toll-free by calling Enquiry BC requesting a transfer to (250) 387-5629.
See also: the Research Data Access Framework for more information.
what's next? > completing the DAR
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