MRC Data Support Service
The MRC Data Support Service project works to facilitate and support data sharing for population and patient studies, in order to optimise the long-term use of rich data assets for new science.
The project works closely with MRC data managers to coordinate and promote work on data sharing tools and standards and to promote the exchange of good practice.
During the third phase of the MRC Data Support Service project we worked with the 15 largest MRC-funded (and co-funded) cohort studies, which in 2009/10 had a combined annual expenditure of £10.4m.
Key achievements were:
- Launching the prototype MRC Research Data Gateway to facilitate the discovery of research data, metadata and documentation
- Revision and refinement of the user requirements for the MRC Research Data Gateway via user feedback and workshop discussions with participating cohort studies
- Definition of a metadata model for the Gateway
- Definition of metadata quality standards for cohort studies
- Agreeing a standard for metadata exchange, DDI-Lifecycle, to enable cohort study metadata from diverse formats and structures to be ingested into the gateway and result in comparable, standardised metadata; with a DDI profile mapped to the metadata model
- Testing ingest of DDI XML metadata into the Gateway directory
- Fit-for-purposes testing of the Gateway against other portals and platforms for the discovery of population health data
- Publishing policy guidance for population and patient studies on sharing of research data and on data management planning , with expert input and in line with policies of other funder to ensure harmonised principles.
During this phase, a consortium of the Science and Technology Facilities Council, University College London and Oxford University, in collaboration with five MRC-funded case studies, developed a prototype online gateway for the discovery of MRC-funded population and patient studies and their variables with a Directory of MRC population cohort datasets. Data sharing policy guidance for population and cohort studies was also developed.