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CDRC response: public dialogues on the (re)use of private sector data for social research

CDRC response: public dialogues on the (re)use of private sector data for social research

Earlier this year, CDRC Director’s Paul Longley and Mark Birkin participated in a series of public dialogue events in order to better understand the public’s views on the use and re-use of private sector data for social research.

The purpose of these dialogues was to inform the work of the CDRC, the Urban Big Data Centre and the Business and Local Government Data Research Centre.

The Aims

The aims of the public dialogues were:

  • to explore public views and related concerns about key aspects of the Data Research Centres’ work towards enabling access to private sector data for social research
  • to start creating a language around private sector data and access to and use of these for research purposes that is meaningful and accessible to the public

The Findings

Overall, the dialogue demonstrated that there is wide public support for the use and re-use of private sector data for social research. Access to information about the Data Centre processes alleviated a lot of the concerns people had initially around security and privacy. An increased appreciation of the benefits of social research for everyone in society meant that a trade-off took place between concerns and perceived risks of the use of private sector data in favour of research that leads to improvements in policy and services.

Our response

The CDRC, along with our colleagues at Urban Big Data Centre and the Business and Local Government Data Research Centre, have worked closely with the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to take forward the findings and recommendations of the public dialogues to improve communication on the work that we do with private sector data for social research. Our official response is now available here. Additionally, responses by the Urban Big Data Centre and the Business and Local Government Data Research Centre can be found at UBDC  and BLG. 

Further Information

The full report and further information on the public dialogue process can be found on the ESRC Website.

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