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.
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