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New animations launched to explain data topics

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Research Data Scotland | Average reading time 2 minutes

21 May 2024

Research Data Scotland (RDS) has published three new animations targeted at researchers and members of the public, to help explain some of the ways data is used for research.

Supported by funding from Health Data Research UK (HDR UK) and the Medical Research Council (MRC), RDS commissioned award-winning production company Media Co-op to create the videos which cover three topics: Trusted Research Environments, data linkage and synthetic data.

Watch the videos

How is data kept secure?


What is data linkage?


What is synthetic data?


To make the videos as accessible as possible, British Sign Language (BSL) interpreted versions of each video are also available. Watch the BSL versions below: 

How is data kept secure? (BSL)

What is data linkage? (BSL)

What is synthetic data? (BSL)

Developing the resources

In October 2023, RDS was awarded funding from a new initiative that enables members of the UK Health Data Research Alliance and other custodians of health data to improve the transparency of processes for accessing data for research. The funded projects seek to implement the Alliance Transparency Standards, which were co-developed by the Pan-UK Data Governance Steering Group and HDR UK’s Public Advisory Board (PAB).

The initiative aims to improve the clarity and accessibility of information about data access processes for the public and researchers, enabling researchers to navigate data access processes more easily for impactful research, whilst helping to build and maintain public trust in safe and secure date access.

Adam Coulson, Delivery Manager, said:

“We were delighted to receive funding from HDR UK and MRC to support the development of these animations. We hope that the videos are a useful resource for researchers, data professionals and members of the public alike, and that they contribute to a wider collective understanding of these vital research topics.”

The new animations build on RDS’s existing public-friendly Data Explainers, which help members of the public understand what administrative data is, how it’s kept secure, and the work RDS is doing to develop the use of data for research in Scotland.

RDS’s brand values centre on providing clarity, encouraging simplicity and building public trust - values which align closely to the aims of the HDR UK Transparency Standards. To ensure the animations were both accurate and public-friendly, data experts and members of the public were consulted throughout the project. This included two rounds of feedback from the Scotland Talks Data public panel, ensuring the videos used appropriate and accessible language for a wide range of audiences.

Crucially, panel members indicated that the brief animations might generate questions for viewers. In order to answer these questions, the animations are published alongside written Data Explainers and signposts to additional resources, ensuring that viewers can access more detailed information about each of the topics.

Throughout the production process, RDS and Media Co-op aimed to keep accessibility at the forefront of the videos. Alongside closed captions, each video has a corresponding British Sign Language (BSL) interpreted version to support further accessibility and ensure that a wider audience can interact with the resources. In addition, a Creative Commons Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 license enables other organisations to reuse the animations, sharing with a wider audience across Scotland and the UK.

To download the videos for re-use, please get in touch.

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