Private sector access to public sector personal data: exploring data value and benefit-sharing

The aim of this review is to enable the Scottish Government to explore the issues relevant to the access of public sector personal data.


Methodological approach

A stepwise approach was followed to perform the review, as set out below:

  • Desk research to devise the search strategy, relevant keywords, and inclusion/exclusion criteria (see Table 1);
  • Data extraction to a pre-piloted form in Google sheets
  • Thematic analysis of included literature;
  • Production of a written report, synthesising the results of our thematic analysis and putting together recommendations based on the reviewed literature and thematic analysis to inform the Digital Directorate's programme and for sharing with partners and wider stakeholders.

We worked between 1st June 2022 and mid-September 2022 and considered the cut-off date for literature inclusion the year 2007. Limitations of the study include the short time frame, making the literature search not as comprehensive as it would have been had more time have been available for the project. Our extensive key chain had to be adapted to suit the databases we used; an issue discussed with the Digital Directorate. Other limitations included that the rapid nature of our literature review meant that each source was only reviewed by one team member, therefore introducing the possibility of error and/or bias. Had more time been available, all literature would have been reviewed by both team members. Our inquiry focused on literature produced both in the UK and internationally but was limited to literature available in English. Lastly, the literature on the targeted matter is scant, making this study inclusive also of adjacent literature, not always perfectly fitting to the criteria. Excluding the usual limitations of a rapid review and the language barrier, the proposed methodology is as robust as it can be, given the above noted constraints.



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