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Data Innovation: Increasing Accessibility, Visibility and Sustainability

Session C5

Facilitating Access to Sensitive Data


  • Research Data Management


  • Gereon


  • David Schiller
    Institute for Employment Research (IAB)


Implementing a Secure Data Enclave with Columbia University Central Resources

  • Rajendra Bose
    Columbia University

Our approach to implementing a Secure Data Enclave (SDE) pilot for Columbia social science researchers during the 2012-13 academic year builds on the work presented at previous IASSIST workshops and panels on access to sensitive data. The SDE is a scalable alternative to existing "cold room" solutions, and provides access to sensitive or restricted data over the campus network (or over Columbia's virtual private network) with widely used secure remote access software. Our SDE pilot was designed and implemented with guidance from the University's Information Security Office and makes use of other central IT resources including an expanding virtual machine infrastructure. The project was initiated by Columbia's social science computing community which spans a number of departments and research centers. This group engaged university administrators and has proposed the goal of expanding a successful pilot into a research service at the university level. This paper will share Columbia's experiences and present guidelines for other academic institutions interested in implementing an SDE using existing central resources including IT and the libraries.

Expanding the Research Data Center in Research Data Center Approach

  • Joerg Heining
    Institute for Employment Research (IAB)

Since, 2011, the Research Data Centre (FDZ) of the Federal Employment Agency (BA) at the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) in Nuremberg, Germany provides remote access to confidential micro data for approved data users. By implementing the so-called Research-Data Center-in-Research Data Center approach data users can access FDZ data from the premises of institutions (other RDCs, data enclaves, etc.) which share comparable standards with regard to data protection and the perseverance of confidentiality as the FDZ. Starting with four external sites in Germany and one site in the US, the FDZ will expand this remote network both in Europe and in the US in 2013. In order to achieve this ambitious goal, several technical and organizational measures need to be implemented. In addition to this, legal concerns have to be removed and funding needs to be ensured. The presentation will describe how the lessons learned from setting up the initial sites influenced this expansion and to what extend new challenges have to be faced. Starting and establishing an international operating remote network turned out to be a complex and ambitious task. But expanding and sustaining such a network is an additional challenge to overcome.

The UK Data Service: Delivering Open and Restricted Data (and Everything In-between)

  • Richard Welpton
    UK Data Archive

With the Open versus Restricted data debate in full throttle, we are in danger of forgetting about the intermediate access options (not quite open, not quite restricted, but access with conditions attached as appropriate to the data). Providing an array of data access options which vary in stringency with confidentiality, is a useful mechanism in which researchers self-select access, depending upon their data requirements. This actually opens up data while helping to protect the security of confidential data. Formally launched in October 2012, the UK Data Service is a new service that is mandated to provide an entire spectrum of access options, from open data to restricted sensitive data, including a number of options in-between. This paper presents the new arrangements for economic and social data access via the new UK Data Service, and demonstrates why offering a range of access options (the full Data Access Spectrum), from downloadable open data to more restricted access, increases the range of data available, and widens research possibilities, while maximizing returns from investments made in data delivery.

The State of the Art of Remote Access to Confidential Microdata in Europe

  • David Schiller
    Institute for Employment Research (IAB)

There are different ways to access and work with highly detailed and confidential micro-data. Researchers can work on-site in the facilities of the data providers, or they can submit their program code to the data provider where it is carried out on the servers of the data providers automatically, or by the staff of the RDC. A smooth way of working with the data is Remote Access (RA). The data stays at the facilities of the data provider and only a live stream is transferred to the users screen. At the same time the user can see the micro-data and can work directly with it, i.e. see intermediate results without delays. The FP7 funded European project Data without Boundaries (DwB) has carried out a survey about the state of the art of Remote Access in Europe. Eight RA centers participated and provided information about their solution with a focus on the technical point of view. The presentation will highlight and discuss the relevant findings of the survey. In addition, possible developments regarding Remote Access to confidential micro-data that are based on the existing solutions will be discussed.