Sensitive data contexts and disciplines: A look at different approaches

You are here

31 Oct 2022
Group(s) submitting the application: 
Meeting objectives: 
  • Meeting objectives 

The Sensitive Data interest group first met as a Birds of a Feather in 2020, and has been a formally endorsed group since January 2022. Early work focused on community discussions to scope work needed in this area and developing our Interest Group road map. Our work in 2022 has focused on mapping and defining the terms and vocabularies used to discuss sensitive data. At P20, the Interest Group will provide an update and share outputs from these key activities, and set the scene for 2023 activities with a focus on how different disciplines approach sensitive data in different contexts. At this meeting, attendees will:

  1. Hear about progress on the 2022 terms and vocabularies work and get access to outputs. 

  2. Hear from a series of speakers from different contexts and disciplines (lightning talks) about sensitive data literacy, sensitive data sharing practices, and risk mitigation in their disciplines. 

  3. Contribute to the development of Interest Group focus areas for 2023. 


  • Meeting presenters

The meeting will feature 3 lightning presentations followed by 15 minutes of discussion. The remainder of the meeting will be reserved for a working meeting. 

Please see the agneda for more detail on speakers.

Meeting agenda: 


Collaborative session notes:

5 Minutes: Introduction and context setting.

5 Minutes: Presentation of terms and vocabularies work from 2022.

30 Minutes: invited presentations.

  • Presentation 1: Steven McEachern speaking on behalf of the Social Science Research Data IG [hyperlink]
  • Presentation 2: Francoise Genova speaking about sensitive and non-sensitive data in physics.
  • Presentation 3: Jeff Christiansen, Wolmar Nyberg Åkerström, Susan Gregurick speaking on behalf of the Life Science Data Infrastructures IG [hyperlink]

Each speaker will be invited to reflect on the work and interest of their IG community and comment on:

  1. The level of sensitive data literacy in the community at large and challenge understandability around data sensitiveness (e.g., do researchers understand what constitutes sensitive data in their field?),
  2. How often sensitive data are shared and the barriers and enablers to sharing (e.g., are there professional incentives for sharing sensitive data, are there examples of successful sensitive data sharing?), and
  3. How risks associated with sharing sensitive data are mitigated (e.g., anonymisation procedures, data retention and storage requirements). 


15 Minutes: Discussion arising from presentations

30 Minutes: Working meeting. A series of activities to priorities which work the IG will undertake in 2023 and the best form for outputs from this work. The broad theme of 2023 will be sensitive data contexts and we will draw from our road map and the “A Decade of Data” activities to define work that will be relevant and timely for the RDA community. 

5 Minutes: Wrap up. 

Target Audience: 

The IG has continued strong engagement from Australian members. At RDA20, we aim to engage group members from the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Global South.  Our aim in 2023 is also to expand participation to engage group members from the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Global South. Co-chairs will continue to leverage connections with the following groups to diversify our membership:

  • Social Sciences Interest Group

  • Ethics and Social Aspects of Data Interest Group

  • Social Dynamics of Data Interoperability Interest Group

  • Indigenous data sovereignty Interest Group

  • Medical Community of Practice Interest Group

  • International Indigenous Data Sovereignty Interest Group

  • Professionalizing Data Stewardship Interest Group

  • Regional/national groups active in RDA network


The IG has been running monthly community meetings through 2022 and this will help to encourage international engagement. The content discussed at P20 will build on the discussions and work of the community meetings as well as P19 - this continuity will help foster continuing interest in our membership. Specifically, we will share the vocabularies work with members of the above-named regions and seek their input into planning activities for the remainder of 2023 regarding sensitive data work. In addition to knowledge sharing and planning, another aim of our session at P20 is to strengthen relationships with existing IGs through inviting speakers from these IGs to contribute lightning talks. We anticipate that this will lead to more cross pollination between the Sensitive Data IG and the broader RDA community through 2023, including co-developed outputs and joint sessions at P21.  We also aim to develop an open community paper on the topic of sensitive data which we will discuss with the community at P20. 


Group chair serving as contact person: 
Brief introduction describing the activities and scope of the group: 

This will be the sixth Plenary meeting of the Sensitive Data Interest Group. The IG now has a regular membership which we have fostered through regular community meetings (starting at the end of 2021 and continuing into 2023) and through development of work packages. Previous meetings of the IG have focused largely on developing a shared understanding of sensitive data through cross walking definitions of common terms. In 2023 we aim to leverage this work to progress our next stage of work focusing on sensitive data contexts. This will be the focus of the group’s community meetings in Q1 and Q2 2023, with specific work packages to be defined at P20. We welcome suggestions and feedback on the IG in general, proposed outputs specifically, and ideas for future outputs and activities. All are welcome, including newcomers to RDA and to the IG. Please visit our IG RDA page to see more activities from our community: 

Short Group Status: 


Type of Meeting: 
Working meeting
Avoid conflict with the following group (1): 
Avoid conflict with the following group (2): 
Meeting presenters: 
Please see Meeting Objectives for more information on meeting presenters. Speaker names will be provided closer to P20.