5. Protect

5. Protect

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

We begin by clarifying the different legal requirements of the European Union Member States, and the impact of the 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. The supporting role of ethical review in managing your legal and ethical obligations is also highlighted in this chapter.

Main take-aways

After completing this chapter you should:

  • Be aware of your legal and ethical obligations towards participants and be informed of the different legal requirements of EU Member States;
  • Understand how protecting your data properly protects you against violating laws and promises made to participants;
  • Understand the impact of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR; European Union, 2016a);
  • 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.

This chapter is based on European and country-specific laws and codes of research ethics. Any guidance and advice within this module do 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.

Main authors of this chapter

Scott Summers, UK Data Service
Libby Bishop, UK Data Archive/GESIS Leibniz Institute for Social Sciences