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Help RDS shape our services

Research Data Scotland (RDS) is looking to engage a range of stakeholders to help shape our work, projects and data access services.

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Calling all researchers and data professionals!

Are you interested in sharing your views and experience to help RDS simplify access to public sector data? We’re keen to consult a wide range of people, including early career and experienced researchers, research co-ordinators, evidence-based policy developers, data analysts, data service providers and administrators to inform and shape our work, projects and data access services.

Sign up to our engagement contact list

The form above asks you to provide your contact details and tell us a bit more about your current work and expertise to help us identify opportunities for your input. You’ll receive a confirmation email when you sign up, which will include a link to update your experience and interests or remove yourself from the contact list. 

What's involved?

We use the list to bring together people with relevant interests and experience to ask for input on specific topics. Activities you might be involved in include interviews, workshops, and task-based testing of digital products and prototypes.

Previous engagement activities and impact 

Researcher Access Service

Consultation with end-users has been pivotal to the development of our Researcher Access Service. Plans for the new service were shaped by user research comprising a series of one-to-one discovery interviews and a two-hour workshop involving analysts, researchers, programme managers and eDRIS research co-ordinators.  

These sessions identified points within the application journey at which applicants most frequently need additional guidance and advice. Insights from this research pinpointed the need to further clarify who does what during the data access process, including the role of RDS, and directly impacted the design for our Researcher Access Service.

User research also guided the development of clickable prototypes for the Researcher Access Service’s initial enquiry and application forms, for example, the removal of unnecessary technical questions. The prototypes were further improved through iterative testing with end-users, whose helpful feedback underscored the value of digitising paper forms and highlighted issues with various form elements such as flow, timing and level of detail.  

User research has also aided simplification and standardisation of language for the Researcher Access Service, as researchers questioned terminology and identified acronyms that are not commonly understood. These insights have improved not only the clarity of dataset names and descriptions but also the ways in which applicants select datasets and variables. These prototypes have been instrumental in building the first live version of the service. Further testing and consultation with researchers and research co-ordinators will ensure the service meets diverse needs through incremental enhancements.  

Synthetic data

Another example of where our plans have and will continue to be shaped by user engagement is our synthetic data work. Our synthetic data strategy was guided by an online workshop with 20 researchers, partner and wider data providers. In particular, the workshop informed our thinking on the level of fidelity needed for common use cases.

Other areas of work 

We collate and share insights from our user engagement activities to apply across other areas of work where relevant. For example, developing information on the RDS website and informing how we streamline approaches to secure data linkage. 

Thank you for your participation!

We are grateful to all those who give their time, experience, views and feedback to support our work in revolutionalising access to secure datasets. It is by working together that we can unlock the potential of public sector data for the benefit of public good.

Want to learn more about how we work with members of the public? Read more about our Public Engagement Fund, the public panel we run with SCADR, and our work with DARE UK.

Data explainers

Confused about data? Explore our handy data explainers to learn what public sector data is, how it's kept safe and how it’s used in research.

Current projects

Want to know what we're working on? Find out more about our current projects and stay updated on our key workstreams.

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