Record linkage is one of the most widely applicable but poorly understood practices in administrative data research. In this blog piece, Dr James Doidge analyses the myths that surround probabilistic linkage.
Writing for The Conversation provides opportunities for researchers to gain global exposure.
A conference on human-centric data in Tallinn, Estonia and Helsinki, Finland.
ADRC-Scotland hosted the annual ADRN conference this year at Surgeon's Hall in Edinburgh on June 1st & 2nd. Here we have some feedback from the conference from our public panel members who attended.
Social media platforms do more than just provide a forum to promote research. Social media offers opportunities and benefits for researchers.
The number of children admitted to hospital as an emergency in England has risen over the last 15 years. This is not due to a deterioration of childhood health, but to organisational changes such as access to out-of-hours GP services and changes in the behaviour of parents. Clearly, we would expect children with serious conditions to be admitted to hospital and treated appropriately. But minor illnesses are often managed better in the community or even at emergency departments, avoiding the expense of hospital admissions (not to mention the disruption to children and their families).
Engaging the public with admin data research: when science festivals can bridge the communication gap
Engaging the public at scientific festival is a demanding but extremely rewarding experience. It can help researchers to make the wider general public aware of the critical research happening in the ADRN, that data are being used lawfully and ethically in accredited secure environments and that not all scientists can access the functionally anonymised linked datasets. The ADRC-E Communications, Public Engagement and Events Manager highlights the reasons behind taking the ADRC-E stand around local and national science festivals.
Data visualisation is presenting information in a graphical or pictorial format. Visuals are processed in the brain thousands of times faster than text and are more easily committed to long-term memory – the bulk of information pouring into the brain is visual and unconscious.
The ADRN has been striving to address numerous challenges since its establishment. Central among them is the need to ensure legitimate data sharing for research through conforming with the applicable legal framework. Following the observation of the Law Commission that the current state of the law creates barriers, the British government introduced a series of provisions to promote public sector data sharing in the Digital Economy Act 2017.
Measuring impact is about looking at the effects your research is having outside the walls of the university and academic sphere. Impact is a measurable difference, a measurable change, it involves looking at the metrics.
A reflection upon the ADRN Annual Research Conference 2017 as an early stage researcher.
It's not just data sharing between government and academics that's important - it's also sharing information about other sources of data - like open data - with other interested groups that can enhance research.
Data driven science is at the heart of many breakthroughs in science. This research has the opportunity to positively affect the global community. Public education and information provision about the need for research based on administrative data is important if there is to be a greater acceptance or legitimacy for use of administrative data for research.
Sitting in the Old Anatomy Lecture Theatre on Monday 3rd April 2017, I am suddenly very nervous about the event due to start in the next 30 minutes. Lots of questions float around my head at superfast speed
Many projects that go through the ADRN have to be approved by the ADRN Approvals Panel. That panel consists of a number of experts in different fields, such as academia, government and data security. There are also two ‘lay members’; these are members of the general public who give a non-specialised view on the project proposals.
In April, Denise Kazmierczak is joining the team as a new lay member to replace Jen Persson, whose term of two years on the Panel is coming to an end. William Mehaffy joined the Panel in September 2016 to replace Stephen Parker.
Winning Outstanding British film at the 2017 BAFTAs – not to mention the prizes it’s already taken, including the Palme d’Or at Cannes – I, Daniel Blake, the tale of a man’s dealings with the benefits system, is having another moment in the limelight.
People’s feelings about the film tend to vary according to their political beliefs. In the Guardian last year, for example, food writer and campaigner Jack Monroe said it felt “like a documentary on my life”, while Mark Littlewood, Director general of the free-market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, said it could be seen as a “libertarian rant against the welfare state”.
Just before Christmas, a workshop on cross national research data took place at the Royal Statistical Society, which was organised by the German Data Forum and the UK Data Forum. Anna Schneider represented ADRC-Scotland.
Public engagement is central to the ADRN. After all, the data we use for research belongs to the public, so the public has not only a right to know what is done with the data, but also a right to be involved in the shaping of the research that uses this data. This is also critical to ensure that research using public data is done for public benefit.
Lucy Tinkler discusses the collaboration between the Office for National Statistics and the Administrative Data Research Centre for England.
Each year the Department for Education publishes statistics related to children who were looked after (i.e. under the care of a local authority) during the year. From these annual reports we know how many children were looked after, the kind of care they received and how often they changed carer during the preceding year.
The idea of collecting data and measuring crime in a systematic way is not new. As far back as the 1830s, counting crime became prominent in France where it was promoted by so-called ‘moral statisticians’ as part of their mission to apply scientific principles to the study of the social world.
The third Talk Big Data panel discussion was a resounding success. The panel was chaired by Katie McNeill, Functional Director at the UK Data Archive, who moderated the discussions between Sharon Witherspoon, the acting Head of Policy for the Academy of Social Sciences, Patrick Guthrie, Head of Public Service Reform at Essex County council, Stephen Simpkin, Senior Organisational Intelligence Officer at Essex County Council and Professor Mounia Lalmas, Director of Research at Yahoo! London.
In 2004, the fourth season of The Wire brought viewers from the streets of Baltimore into its classrooms, through the viewpoint of a group of researchers trialling a behavioural intervention. By the season finale, with teachers and students telling them of the programme’s benefits and with data to back up the claim, the research team arrange a meeting at the mayor’s office and make the case for a city-wide trial.
On Thursday 20 October the BLGDRC, alongside the Administrative Data Research Network (ADRN) and the Human Rights, Big Data and Technology Project (HRBDT), hosted the second of our Talk Big Data event series. We were delighted to be joined by Jasmine Birtles (Founder, Money Magpie), Helen Simpson (Professor, University of Bristol) and Ian Hutchinson (Lead Software Developer, Projects by IF).
The Digitising Scotland Project is having the birth, marriage, and death records of Scotland transcribed from the scans of the original hand written registration books. This process is not without its own challenges, try reading this birth record of a famous Scottish artist and architect, but the focus of the colloquium was on what happens after the records have been transcribed.
Dr Emma White, Assistant Director of the Administrative Data Research Centre England, reflects on the progress made in the first three months of her year-long secondment with NatCen Social Research as Head of Administrative Data.
Running through the autumn, the first of the Talk Big Data series began last Thursday the 13 October at the University of Essex with the theme ‘Charities, Humanitarian Action and Big Data: Friend or Foe?
Effective sharing and linking of medical and other social data is potentially a game-changer in advances in health and social wellbeing but public confidence is critical to a careful and judged advance in the use of these techniques. It also presents challenges in terms of respecting individual privacy.
'One key issue that can often takes up much of a research paper’s introduction is defining terminology, and indeed public engagement also suffers from a plethora of differing definitions and often of individuals’ intangible personal perspectives around what public engagement truly means. I am not going to dwell on defining public engagement, but I would like to tackle one tricky issue.'
Professor Sir Ian Diamond is Chair of the independent Approvals Panel which decides whether research projects can proceed. He talks about the Network’s progress, and the challenges we face.
Over 450 data scientists from 20 countries took part in a week-long conference showcasing cutting edge developments in population data linkage research