This part of the tour guide focuses on key legal and ethical considerations in creating shareable data.

We begin with clarifying the different legal requirements of Member States, and the impact of the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on research data management. Subsequently, we will show you how sharing personal data can often be accomplished by using a combination of obtaining informed consent, data anonymisation and regulating data access. Also, the supporting role of ethical review in managing your legal and ethical obligations is highlighted.

Main take-aways

After completing your trips around this chapter you should:

  • Be aware of your legal and ethical obligations towards participants and be informed of the different legal requirements of Member States;
  • Understand how well-protecting your data, protects you against violating laws and promises made to participants;
  • Understand the impact of the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR; European Union, 2016);
  • Understand how a combination of informed consent, anonymisation and access controls allows you to create shareable personal data;
  • Be able to define what elements should be integrated into a consent form;
  • Be able to apply anonymisation techniques to your data;
  • Be able to answer the DMP questions which are listed at the end of this chapter and adapt your own DMP.

Authors and guides to this chapter

  • ScotSummers_Tekengebied 1
  • Scott Summers | UK Data Archive

    I have undertaken legal research for over 10 years, and currently work to advise researchers on various issues around data sharing; such as, data protection, consent, anonymisation and controlling access to data. My hope is that this module will provide researchers with the resources and tools they need – particularly when undertaking international collaborative projects – to enable them to actively protect and share their research data whilst complying with the legal and ethical requirements.

  • LibbyBishop_Tekengebied 1
  • Libby Bishop | UK Data Archive

    I have worked in the area of research data management for over a decade, with special interest in legal and ethical issues of sharing data. Despite the diversity of national laws and ethical practices about data, I hope that this guide gives researchers useful knowledge to be more confident when making decisions about using, publishing, and sharing their data.

This chapter is based on European and country-specific laws and codes of research ethics. Any guidance and advice within this module does not constitute legal advice. Professional legal advice should be sought where you are unsure of the legal requirements placed upon you by law when conducting your research.