Publishing Sensitive Data Guide

Read our guide to publishing sensitive research data so you can make clear, lawful, and ethical decisions about safely making your data available for reuse.

Our Publishing Sensitive Data guide outlines best practice for the publication of sensitive research data in the Australian context. The guide follows the sequence of steps that are necessary for publishing and sharing sensitive data, as outlined in the Publishing and Sharing Sensitive Data flowchart. It provides the detail and context to the steps in this poster. References for further reading are provided for those that are interested.

By following the sections below, and steps within, you will be able to make clear, lawful, and ethical decisions about sharing your data safely.


  • Introduction
  • What is sensitive data?
  • I have sensitive data – now what?
  • Risk of identifiability
  • Ethics and consent
  • Who can find and access your data?
  • Publishing the data
  • Reusing sensitive data
  • Acknowledgements
  • More information
  • References

Key Messages from the ARDC Guide to Publishing Sensitive Data

  • The benefits of publishing your sensitive data and metadata can be significant as long as appropriate steps are taken to meet your ethical and legal obligations.
  • Publishing your data and metadata means that others can discover it and cite it. Increasing the visibility of your data this way can lead to new collaborations, improve the impact of your research, and create opportunities for authorship.
  • You can publish a description of your data (i.e. metadata) without making the data itself openly accessible.
  • You can place conditions around access to published data.

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