The ADRF Network is an evolving grassroots effort among researchers and organizations who are seeking to collaborate around improving access to and promoting the ethical use of administrative data in social science research. As supporters of evidence-based policymaking and research, FPF has been an integral part of the Network since its launch and has chaired the network’s Data Privacy and Security Working Group since November 2017.

This summer, ADRF Network published its first set of working group reports in order to help advance standards and best practices for administrative data researchers and practitioners. The reports address priority issues in administrative data research, including: Data Quality and StandardsData Sharing Governance and Management; and Communicating about Data Privacy and Security. The working groups engaged over 30 experts from academic universities, government agencies, and other institutions.

FPF CEO Jules Polonetsky and FPF Policy Counsel Kelsey Finch led the work on Communicating about Data Privacy and Security as part of its ongoing efforts to support  proactive and privacy-focused stakeholder engagement and communications around administrative data research. While strong privacy safeguards are the foundation of any administrative data research, learning to effectively communicate about how and why administrative data are being used and protected and providing stakeholders with meaningfully input in the research process is essential to maintaining public trust.

In the report, we identify the “why, when, who, and how” of communicating about data privacy and security while doing administrative data research. The report highlights the importance of engaging a diversity of stakeholders at multiple stages in the research lifecycle, and includes an initial matrix model building on the GovLab’s People-Led Innovation framework to ensure active engagement. We also apply the model to a hypothetical research project to further inspire researchers and practitioners to think creatively about meaningful opportunities for stakeholder engagement.

Publication of these reports is a pivotal step toward developing industry-wide best practices for researchers and practitioners working to advance administrative data research. We believe that stakeholder engagement and communicating about data privacy and security are crucial to the future success of administrative data research.

Full reports can be downloaded here.

FPF is thankful to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for making this work possible; to Monica King for her leadership of the ADRF Network; and our fellow Data Privacy & Security Working Group members for their thoughtful contributions. Working Group participants included: Elizabeth Dabney, Data Quality Campaign; Tanvi Desai, Data Strategy Consultant;  Valerie Holt, ECDataWorks; Della Jenkins, Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy; Stefaan Verhulst, GovLab; and Evan White, California Policy Lab.

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