Dealing with sensitive data
The term 'sensitive data' is used to refer to data relating to people, animal or plant species, data generated or used under a restrictive commercial research funding agreement, and any data likely to have significant negative public impact if released.
Most of the standard challenges of research data management are faced when handling sensitive data. However, there are also several added complications. Secure data storage and deciding upon suitability for sharing can be complex issues to resolve.
The resources here help you maximise the value of your data and meet the expectations of funders and publishers, whilst adhering to legislative requirements and addressing participant concerns. Example consent form clauses, which support data sharing, can be found in our Sharing research data concerning human participants (PDF, 314kB) guide.
Where research data contains information on living, identifiable people, GDPR and the 2018 Data Protection Act will apply. For more information on how to comply, see GDPR and research.
The Bristol University data.bris Research Data Repository can be used to share sensitive research data under controlled access arrangements: see Publishing data under access restrictions for more information. Our Dataset disclosure risk assessment service can help you decide what anonymisation steps and access levels are appropriate for your dataset.
- Data access levels of the data.bris repository (PDF, 205kB)
- Interactive bootcamp tutorial - Sensitive research data
- Research data access agreement for controlled data (PDF, 255kB)
- Research data access agreement for restricted data (PDF, 259kB)
- Retention of research records and data (PDF, 304kB)
- Sharing research data concerning human participants (PDF, 314kB)
- UKAN Anonymisation Decision-making Framework (The ADF)