Data security and intellectual property

CLOSER Discovery allows an unprecedented level of access to information about the data in the nine longitudinal studies. A key part of this was to ensure data security and intellectual property requirements were respected.

Data security

CLOSER Discovery hosts metadata. This is, simply put, data about data. It does not host the data itself. Variables are all listed by name, linked to their data set and their source data collection instrument. There are also summary statistics for each variable, such as valid and invalid, minimum and maximum, frequency, etc. However, these are stored only as the final values. The data behind them is not included within CLOSER Discovery.

For example, if a question was asked of 2,500 people and an answer was recorded for 2,000, then there would be 2,000 valid and 500 invalid responses. If the question had Yes and No as possible answers, CLOSER Discovery might tell you that 1,500 said Yes and 500 said No. These are recorded simply as Yes = 1,500 and No = 500. The individual responses are not stored. It is not, therefore, possible to find out from CLOSER Discovery what person number 1,437 answered.

It is also not possible to cross-tabulate within CLOSER Discovery. We know that 1,500 said Yes to question 1 and 1,500 said Yes to question 2. There is no way, in the metadata, to know if those are the same 1,500 people or not. The only exception is where questions are dependent. If question 2 was only asked of people who said Yes to question 1, then you will know they are the same. This allows you to make useful judgements about the robustness of the data, but you will need to source and analyse the data itself to gain more detail.

Metadata intellectual property

The metadata for each study remains the intellectual property of that study at all times. All overarching metadata are the intellectual property of CLOSER and its funders. This is clearly indicated in the metadata themselves, where every item is tagged with an agency.

The metadata is being made available under the Non-Commercial Government Licence for public sector information. Please make yourself familiar with this licence before making further use of the metadata.