Applying for data is a formal process and Researchers need to be meticulous. Approach the Data Access Request (DAR) submission process with the same diligence you would apply to submitting a major grant application. It takes time, planning, and close attention to detail. It is the Applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the DAR application is complete, clear and consistent.
To create an online DAR, please login to my.popdata.bc.ca and select ‘Researcher Tools’ tab, then ‘Data Access Request – DARonline.’ On this page you will be able to generate a new DAR and see a list of the previous DARs you created online. You will also see DARs that others have created if they added you as another DAR editor.
If you do not have a my.popdata account yet, please register for one here: https://my.popdata.bc.ca/account/register/.
Ensure that all sections of the DAR form are completed according to the instructions and ensure that all supporting documents are included.
- Ethics review application (see below) – (approval can be pending)
- Peer Review documents (see below) – funding/supervisor letter/CV
- External Data request (if applicable)
- Data field list
- Approval (can be provided when available)
- Consent form and BC Ministry of Health Attestation faceplate (if applicable)
Decide on the details of your study prior to completing the forms and submitting your DAR package Fundamental study details such as study population, data linkages and research objectives should not change following submission to PopData as this will restart the review process If questions arise as you prepare your DAR package for submission, work with the Data Access Unit to clarity any uncertainties (e.g. data availability, data linkage processes, etc)
A DAR submission involves multiple documents which outline the details of the study. Project information in all documents must be consistent. For example:
- Project title
- Research team members
- Research objectives
- Data requested
- Study population
- Data storage location
- All dates and date ranges
- DAR submission steps
Submission to PopData
- Create a new DAR on my.popdata.bc.ca/dar/
- Once the DAR is complete, please go to ’Section 15: Submission to DAU.’ Here you can check off that your application is indeed complete and correct, as well submit the DAR to the DAU. Make sure to click on one of the save buttons. The status would change to ‘Submitted to DAU – Initial’ and your DAR will no longer be editable.
- If incomplete the applicant will be notified. The DAR’s status will be set back to ‘Draft’ so that the research team can make the appropriate changes. To re-submit the DAR go back to ‘Section 15: Submission to DAU.’
- If complete the DAU will perform a detailed review.
- If revisions are required, the DAR status will be set to ‘Draft Revision’ so that the research team can make the appropriate changes. To re-submit the DAR, click on 'Submit Draft Revisions' on the main page of the DAR.
- DAU will not proceed with further review until all required revisions are received. If the application is complete, the DAU will ask the research team to do a final review.
- Final review done by research team is done to make sure everything is correct before sending the application to the Data Stewards.
- To confirm, the Applicant will select ‘Submit’ in the ‘Final Submissions’ section.
- If changes are needed, the Applicant will let the DAU know.
- The DAU will submit the application on behalf of the Applicant to the relevant Data Steward(s) online.
- Ethics review
The academic institution to which the researcher is affiliated will require an ethics review for all research projects, including those that relate to data held at Population Data BC. Projects will generally also require external peer review prior to approval. See the Data Access Request (DAR) for more information.
All DARs must contain either:
- A current ethics approval certificate and a complete copy of the application submitted to Research Ethics Boards (REB); or
- A complete copy of the application submitted to the review committee, complete with any conditional or interim comments.
Note that DARs submitted to Data Stewards for review should have an applicable ethics application and ethics certificate attached. If a project has received an official waiver issued by an REB or has not received approval from an REB, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss this.
The BC Ministry of Health does not accept ethics reviews by for-profit ethics committees.
- Peer review
Most Data Steward(s) require applications to demonstrate proof of peer review, an external scholarly review by experts in the appropriate field. The majority of projects receive grant funding and the peer review process is embedded in the grant application process.
If the project has been peer reviewed in this way, Researchers should include in the application:
- The project description used for the peer review
- Written comments issued by the reviewer
- A copy of the official funding/grant letter
For projects that haven’t gone through peer review as part of the grant funding process, other means of peer review may also be considered, provided that it satisfies the criteria below. This includes, for example, the free use of the UBC Clinical Research Ethics Board (CREB) peer review templates and certain non-profit funding processes. For a peer review process to be considered by Data Stewards as “satisfactory”, the following criteria must be met and documented:
- The peer review process was conducted independently from the Research Team and without Conflict of Interest.
- The peer review process was scientific in nature.
- The peer review was conducted by a panel of reviewers or/and by at least two reviewers.
- At least two peer reviewers have relevant subject-matter expertise.
Standalone Student DARs
For standalone Student DARs (applications that are NOT embedded in a supervisor’s DAR) a letter from the student's supervisor on formal institutional letterhead is required. The letter should include:
- The project title.
- Confirmation of the status of the student (e.g. the name of the program that the student is enrolled in).
- Confirmation that the student’s supervisory committee has reviewed and approved the student’s research proposal, and will provide ongoing guidance throughout the course of the study.
- Confirmation that the data being requested will be used exclusively for the student’s academic/training program.
If project team members who are not part of the supervisory committee need access to the data, please also provide:
- A robust rationale as to why the individual’s data access is necessary to complete the student’s project and a brief description of the professional relationship between the proposed team member and the student and/or their supervisor and/or committee.
- An acknowledgement from the supervisor that they are aware of and support the proposed team member’s data access, including affirmation that the data access will be used exclusively to support the student’s work within the approved student DAR and that there would be no additional analysis or publications.