Social science and humanities research infrastructures allow the sharing and safe use of confidential data for research. In recent years there has been a shift towards virtual data enclaves or Remote Access or Remote Desktop systems that offer fewer physical controls. They need to be replaced with other safeguards, including often mandatory training. This training aims to ensure that researchers are equipped with the knowledge required to use secure/legally controlled data safely. Developing training is resource intensive so canonical training materials are an economical approach to providing standardised, high-quality materials for researchers. As development moves towards remote access connections that allow access across international borders, having some commonalities in the training that services offer will allow secure data access facilities across the world to be confident that researchers have received high quality training regardless of where they trained.
The SSHOC Task 5.4 Deliverable 5.20 ‘Training materials of workshop for secure data facility professionals ́ has two objectives, the first the development of a set of canonical training materials. The aim of the training materials is that any secure data access facility professionals who are looking to develop training in safe data use for their researchers can use the canonical materials as a framework on which to build their own training course. The second objective was to hold a virtual workshop during which the training materials would be demonstrated to a credible audience of secure data access professionals, trainers, and researchers. The purpose of the workshop was to gather feedback on the materials to inform their future development.
A set of canonical set of materials, consisting of a PowerPoint presentation of 94 slides accompanied by a supplementary guide for trainers, has been developed, which builds on the wealth of expertise among UK secure data access services and experience over many years of training researchers in the UK. These training materials were then demonstrated at a virtual, two-hour Stakeholder Workshop on 21 September. The workshop was organized as a presentation of the training materials followed by a small group discussion feedback session. The feedback session consisted of thorough discussions of the training materials with 4-5 participants from the secure data access and research sectors in each group. The nominated leaders in each discussion in the breakout rooms noted the key feedback in Google Documents.
The discussion groups formed a consensus that the materials were both comprehensive and clearly structured and would be a valuable resource to secure data access facility professionals.
Key topics discussion in the breakout rooms included the recommendation that a Supplementary Guide for Trainers be added to the materials to aid course delivery, a discussion around whether there were sufficient materials included for the humanities and around the potential duration and delivery mode of a course. Further discussions also centred around the different considerations when discussing legislation.
The presentations and the following discussions showed that a canonical set of training materials was an important development in assisting data facilities in the safe sharing of secure data. The comprehensive breadth of information included means that discussions demonstrated that secure data access facilities professionals would be able to adapt these materials to suit the needs of their services with relative ease. However, it was also concluded that additional guidance would be beneficial to aid secure data access facilities professionals in the adaptation and delivery of the materials.