Every integrated data system requires a formal governance process. Governing boards are typically composed of representatives from source agencies of various databases. These agencies have legal responsibilities for use of their data, and, depending on the data source, often must approve individual requests for data use. The governing board may also include data quality and management experts or legal advisors. Separately, some jurisdictions may have a Research Advisory Board that reviews the scientific merit of proposed projects and gives general advice on IDS research operations. Lastly, a jurisdiction may choose to have an advisory board of community stakeholders, which may include foundations, The United Way, citizens groups, and service provider organizations, who can provide input as to policy and research priorities from the community perspective, and who can consider the translational issues associated with study results. Special projects may have their own ad-hoc advisory boards to commission research, review results and offer recommendations for policy and program change.
Data request proposals are typically reviewed by the governing board on their merit and feasibility, as well as fit with agencies’ priorities. A common rubric includes the following questions:
- Does the proposal look to answer a question that’s in-line with agency and/or local priorities?
- Are appropriate protections in place for data handling, sharing, and storing?
- Does the proposed team have the research expertise to execute the project?
- Does the integrated data system have the reliable data needed to execute the project?
- Does the integrated data system have the resources needed to facilitate the timely execution of the project, and if not, what would be the additional resources required?