A key safeguard in this new mechanism to facilitate access to data in the COVID-19 Data Research Hub is the Research Data Governance Board (RDGB), an independent body established jointly by the Health Research Board (HRB) and the Central Statistics Office (CSO), in close collaboration with the Department of Health (DoH). The RDGB acts as a central point for application receipt, screening, review and prioritisation of data requests prior to accessing the CSO service, which then facilitates access to these data, incorporating pseudonymisation and data linkage.
The RDGB will oversee a transparent process to facilitate secure and controlled access to the data for the purposes of conducting statistical analyses to facilitate research by:
- Determining the eligibility of the applicants, both individual applicants and the research organisations
- Determining the validity of the research in addressing COVID-19 related research
- Providing recommendations to the CSO on access to its supported service to use the COVID-19 Data Research Hub
- Monitoring the demand for and use of the COVID-19 Data Research Hub and its supporting CSO service
- Informing wider discussion on a health data access and linkage service for Ireland
Only applications that have been approved by the RDGB and where
- evidence of Research Ethics Committee (REC) approval and
- Health Research Consent Declaration Committee approval
is received by the RDGB will be recommended to be reviewed by the CSO.
The CSO will issue final approval for access to relevant COVID-19 health data.