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Author: Mackie, Christopher
Resulting in 1 citation.
1. Mackie, Christopher
Bradburn, Norman M.
Improving Access to and Confidentiality of Research Data
Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2000.
Cohort(s): Children of the NLSY79, NLSY79
Publisher: National Academy of Sciences (NAS), United States
Keyword(s): Child Care; Children, Well-Being; Neighborhood Effects; Residence

Permission to reprint the abstract has not been received from the publisher.

Report of a Workshop on Confidentiality of and Access to Data Research Files
Committee on National Statistics, Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, National Research Council

The Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT), in consultation with the Institute of Medicine, convened a two-day workshop on October 14-15, 1999 to identify ways to advance the often conflicting goals of exploiting the research potential of micro-data while maintaining the appearance and reality of preserving confidentiality. Special attention was given to longitudinal data that have been linked to administrative records, because such data have greater research potential but are also more vulnerable to disclosures. The workshop brought together data producers from federal agencies and research organizations; data users, including academic researchers; and experts in statistical disclosure limitation techniques, confidentiality policies and administrative and legal procedures. Norman Bradburn, National Opinion Research Center, chaired the workshop.

The purpose of this workshop was to review the benefits and risks of providing public use research data files and to explore alternative procedures for restricting access to such data, especially longitudinal survey data that have been linked to administrative records. The workshop discussions addressed the impact of measures designed to reduce disclosure risk on each group involved--survey respondents, data producers, and data users. Workshop participants identified best current practices and suggested improvements to maximize the social return on investments in such databases, while fully complying with legal and ethical requirements.

The workshop discussion accomplished several goals:

  • reviewed current practices and concerns of federal agencies and other data producing organizations;
  • reviewed the types of research that are enhanced, or only made possible, using linked lon gitudinal data;
  • provided an overview of administrative arrangements to preserve confidentiality;
  • identified ways to foster data accessibility in secondary analysis; and
  • assessed the utility of statistical methods for limiting disclosure risk.

The Committee prepared a report covering workshop proceedings, which will include presentation and discussion summaries, and suggestions for future research. This report will be published in September 2000.

Plans are underway for developing follow-on activities to this workshop that could include convening a panel that would oversee one or more workshops and would then write a report with recommendations. It seems likely that future work would shift the focus away from what agencies are currently doing--which, after the first workshop, is fairly clear--and toward looking in more detail at: (1) cutting edge statistical techniques for manipulating data in ways that preserve important statistical properties and allow for broader general data release; (2) new, less burdensome ways (e.g., internet, remote access etc.) of providing researchers with access to restricted data sets; (3) researcher reaction to these potential new directions; and (4) the issue of licensing coupled with graduated civil and criminal penalties for infringement. Future efforts would focus more carefully on longitudinal microdata.

This activity is sponsored by the National Institute on Aging, the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Library of Medicine, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of Planning and Evaluation of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Social Security Administration

Bibliography Citation
Mackie, Christopher and Norman M. Bradburn. Improving Access to and Confidentiality of Research Data. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2000..