A project conducted by the Population Health Research Network (PHRN) has resulted in the PHRN Online Application System (OAS). The new system simplifies the complex process of accessing data for research purposes from multiple jurisdictions across Australia.

The new OAS system has improved upon the former lengthy and often challenging application process that involved submitting separate data applications to each jurisdiction, of which Australia has nine (six states, two territories and the Commonwealth), which all collect and link population data. Researchers wanting to access linked data from multiple jurisdictions can now complete one online data application form for cross-jurisdictional linked data.

Access to linked population data is challenging for researchers in many countries. Access to cross-jurisdictional linked data is particularly difficult and is a problem that must be tackled in federated countries like Australia.

The Population Health Research Network (PHRN) ran a collaborative and consultative project to streamline the application and approval processes for linked cross-jurisdictional data, the details of which have been published in an article in the International Journal of Population Data Science (IJPDS). The article describes Australia’s approach to overcoming some of the application and approval challenges for access to cross-jurisdictional linked data.

The project involved developing a unified online application form with the flexibility to address different jurisdictional legal and policy requirements. It also involved harmonising and coordinating the application business processes for all jurisdictions.

Merran Smith, the Chief Executive of the PHRN, explained the significance of the coordinated approach, “The development of an online application system and coordination of data applications has been a critical step in making cross-jurisdictional linked data more widely available to researchers”.

The supporting harmonised business processes enable coordinated feedback to researchers on design and feasibility as well as monitoring of progress from application submission to approval. The project has demonstrated that it is possible to simplify and streamline data applications in complex multi-jurisdictional environments, but it does require significant consultation, flexibility, and willingness to collaborate.

Access to the PHRN online application system is available at https://oas.phrn.org.au


Click here to read the full open access article

Dr Felicity Flack – Manager, Policy and Client Services, Population Health Research Network, Australia

Wray, N., Miller, K., Irvine, K., Moore, E., Crisp, A., Baupaume, K., Taylor, C., Smetak, R., Wiggins, N., Dombrovskaya, M. and Flack, F. (2022) “Development and implementation of a national online application system for cross-jurisdictional linked data”, International Journal of Population Data Science, 7(1). doi: 10.23889/ijpds.v7i1.1732.