Work package leader:

Marianne Høgetveit Myhren


Email Marianne

This work package addresses the major legal and ethical challenges facing cross-national social science research, which relies on access to large-scale data on an individual level.

These issues are tackled with a particular focus on social surveys and the use of new data types in a social survey context, including biomarker, social media data and administrative data. The impact of the proposed new European General Data Protection Regulation is described and carefully monitored. Strategic policy guidelines and best practices to solve/overcome the legal and ethical barriers to increased research use of new data resources are being developed. The specific objectives are to:

  • Determine and provide guidance related to the legal and ethical issues when using a range of traditional and new forms of data in the social sciences
  • Ensure social scientists can work effectively when handling personal data within an evolving legal and ethical framework, whilst retaining the confidence of the public
  • Increase the range and depth of the CESSDA infrastructure to ensure that new forms of data can be shared and reused

WP6 tasks

The WP is divided into four tasks:

Legal and ethical challenges related to the use of social media data and related data

The main focus of Task 6.1 is on the legal requirements and ethical challenges that may come about when data arising from electronic communications are harvested from social networks, customer databases and tracking devices. It explores the possibilities for using these data sources to enrich and supplement traditional data source and data collection methods.

Legal, ethical and quality challenges related to the use of administrative data

This task aims to produce an evaluation of the different public engagement and communications activities related to the use of administrative data in research, leading to an understanding of best practice across Europe. It undertakes a mapping activity which catalogues the use of administrative data in comparative survey research, and consult on the methods and practices used within the ESS, SHARE and GGP.

Connected curation and quality

Task 6.3 is about increasing the range and depth of the CESSDA infrastructure to allow for the differences in practice which data repositories may have to work towards in order to ensure that new forms of ‘Big Data’ are best made sharable and re-useable.

Consent and biomarkers

More and more social surveys are implementing the collection of biomarkers. The benefits of such innovations are an improvement of the precision in health measurement, but there are also challenges around consent and storage. Task 6.4 aims to evaluate the experiences from consent. In 2015 SHARE dried blood spot collection and develop strategies for the inclusion of biological samples in population-based social survey databases and bio-bank policy rules in a transnational setting.