Data Security: OECD Publishes New Privacy Guidelines for Accessing Data From Publicly Funded Research Projects

On May 3 the Organization for Economic and Cooperation and Development (OECD) released a new 24-page guideline,”Principles and Guidelines for Access to Research Data from Public Funding” for organizations in governments throughout the world regarding access to data from publicly funded research projects.

The guidelines state that “in some instances, access to or use of data may be restricted to safeguard the privacy of individuals, protect confidentiality, proprietary results or national security.”
The guidelines were reportedly created to help governments and research organizations create new policies for sharing data within their own countries, as well as internationally.
The guidelines offer sample policies addressing the challenges of cross-border data transfer, including how to handle the different countries’ privacy standards and laws.
The guidelines recommend researchers make research data anonymous and implement procedures “to preserve as much data utility as possible for researchers.”
I’ve discussed the need to anonymize data many times, including two podcasts here.
The OECD described the non-legally binding guidelines as “a common, yet flexible international framework” that research organizations throughout any country can put in place to facilitate international information exchange of research data.
The OECD said the guidelines represent “collective and precise standards or objectives” that all OECD member countries are expected to implement.
Hopefully the research organizations in the U.S. will read and follow these sound recommendations.

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