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Research Data Management: Ethics

Introduction

Ethical and legal requirements apply to the management of research data. Ethical oversight is the responsibility of a number of committees at NUI Galway and further information is provided below.

Research Ethics Committee (REC)

The objective of the NUI Galway Research Ethics Committee is to safeguard the health, welfare and rights of human participants and researchers (in the case of hazardous materials) in research studies and to afford dignity to the handling and treatment of biological materials, taking into account the scientific procedures and concerns of the local community. For any research proposal to gain ethical approval it must be necessary and of a design that minimises predictable risk to both the research participant and the researcher. Therefore, you may require Ethical Approval if you wish to carry out research within NUI Galway for any area that involves humans or their tissues, biological materials or hazardous substances. For further information go to the Research Office website.

Anonymisation

"Anonymisation is a valuable tool that allows data to be shared, whilst preserving privacy. The process of anonymising data requires that identifiers are changed in some way such as being removed, substituted, distorted, generalised or aggregated." UK Data Service

For information and guidance on both qualitative and quantitative anonymisation please refer to the following resources: 

Advice on anonymisation from the UK Data Service 

Guidance on how to De-identifying your data (Australian National Data Service (ANDS)

Amnesia is a data anonymization tool, that allows you to remove identifying information from data. Amnesia not only removes direct identifiers like names, SSNs etc but also transforms secondary identifiers like birth date and zip code so that individuals cannot be identified in the data. It is available as a desktop software and an online tool.

UKAN UK Anonymisation Network who provide information and support about anonymisation to anyone who handles personal data and needs to share it.

ISSDA (Irish Social Science Data Archive) slides from Anonymisation workshop  (22 June 2016) relating to social research, quantitative and qualitative data.

IQDA Qualitative Data Anonymizer Tool and other resources for researchers.