Research participants often disclose very personal information about themselves as part of their study participation, and it is important that they can trust their data are held with security and care. Before any data are shared amongst researchers, potentially identifying information (such as name, date of birth or address) is removed from the data. Even so, the data are still considered sensitive data, and projects wishing to access data must undergo an ethical review.
DPAU wants to ensure that participant data are protected at all times and eliminate any risk of inappropriate access. By having the data stored in a central place, on the Secure eResearch Platform (SeRP), it removes the risk associated with physically moving data from one place to another. The SeRP allows DPAU to provide bona fide researchers access to the data they have been approved to analyse and allows the researchers to conduct their project quickly and effectively, while maintaining the privacy of research participants. Those who have given their time and information to long-term studies are keen for their data to be appropriately shared, as they have participated in research studies with the advancement of medical research in mind.
DPAU is collaborating with Monash University and five other Australian universities to deliver a secure, trusted and scalable environment for data sharing, governance, control and management services for researchers.
Data security for research is an emerging and critical area that needs sustained national investment. Data can be sensitive for many reasons: personal, cultural, national security or commercial reasons.
For many types of data, it is legislated that Australian data be retained in Australia, rather than on servers internationally. This is to ensure that the Australian’s standards of data security are upheld. The DPAU SeRP is located at Monash University, researchers will be accessing the data on a virtual desktop and will not be able to download study data, only the results of their analysis. This keeps the research data safe, no matter from which geographical location or jurisdiction they are accessed.