Population Data BC: Supporting population data science in British Columbia

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Tavinder Kaur Ark
Sarah Kesselring
Brent Hills
Kim McGrail


Population Data BC (PopData) was established as a multi-university data and education resourceto support training and education, data linkage, and access to individual level, de-identified data for research in a wide variety of areas including human and community development and well-being.

A combination of deterministic and probabilistic linkage is conducted based on the quality andavailability of identifiers for data linkage. PopData utilizes a harmonized data request and approvalprocess for data stewards and researchers to increase efficiency and ease of access to linked data. Researchers access linked data through a secure research environment (SRE) that is equipped with a wide variety of tools for analysis. The SRE also allows for ongoing management and control of data. PopData continues to expand its data holdings and to evolve its services as well as governance and data access process.

PopData has provided efficient and cost-effective access to linked data sets for research. After two decades of learning, future planned developments for the organization include, but are not limited to, policies to facilitate programs of research, access to reusable datasets, evaluation and use of new data linkage techniques such as privacy preserving record linkage (PPRL).

PopData continues to maintain and grow the number and type of data holdings available for research. Its existing models support a number of large-scale research projects and demonstrate the benefits of having a third-party data linkage and provisioning center for research purposes. Building further connections with existing data holders and governing bodies will be important to ensure ongoing access to data and changes in policy exist to facilitate access for researchers.

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How to Cite
Ark, T. K., Kesselring, S., Hills, B. and McGrail, K. (2020) “Population Data BC: Supporting population data science in British Columbia”, International Journal of Population Data Science, 4(2). doi: 10.23889/ijpds.v4i2.1133.

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