How is Data Linked?

How is Data Linked?

How is data linked for research?

The access to and use of linked datasets is a complex and strictly controlled process.

Researchers undergo a stringent application process requiring approval from each data custodian plus a Human Research Ethics Committee to confirm their study is both valid and in the public interest.

Once a project is approved, the data custodians and staff at the Data Linkage Unit work together to determine which records are required for the study to ensure minimal information is provided to the researcher.

Data linkers then prepare linkage keys (a random string of numbers and letters) for the project enabling the provision of a merged dataset to the researcher to analyse.

See the below infographic for a simple overview.

A similar approach is used if a researcher wants to link research data (eg from a clinical trial, registry or longitudinal study) to the linked data.