Data Matters – Dr Nana Anokye

We’ve launched a new blog series called ‘Data Matters – data stories from Brunel’ where Brunel researchers are invited to share their data stories about their research and how they manage, share and use open data.

Dr Nana Anoyke is a Senior Lecturer in Health Economics and is Director of Research for the Department of Clinical Sciences.



Tell us about your research and the data you work with.

My research covers addressing methodological challenges in understanding why (and how) people make decisions on lifestyle behaviour change, with a view to informing the design of public health interventions and methods for assessing the value for money of such interventions.

I work with large primary (collected as part of clinical trials) and secondary datasets (publicly available international and national datasets).

Is there a culture of data sharing in your field? 

Yes, data sharing is practiced in health economics particularly regarding data for populating decision analytic models.

What kinds of data do you make openly available and how/where do you make them available?

The data I make openly available include estimates for populating economic models and dataset used for cost effectiveness analyses. I make them available via data repositories (e.g. figshare) and journals (as supplementary files).

Are there any data challenges associated with your research, in particular around managing, sharing or reusing open data? 

The data challenges associated with my research include: (a) anonymised data; (b) working in large teams with the principal data collectors often based outside Brunel; and (c) large datasets with lot of variables.

How have you overcome these challenges? 

I have overcome these challenges by developing a data management plan – this helps to identify the data challenges and potential solutions at the outset of projects.

What advice would you give a researcher just starting out about open science/open data?

Open science is the present and the future. It could increase the impact of our research.







Data Matters – Kanya Paramaguru

To coincide with Love Data Week 2018, we are launching a new blog series called ‘Data Matters – data stories from Brunel’ where Brunel researchers are invited to share their data stories about their research and how they manage, share and use open data.

Kanya Paramaguru, a PhD student in the Department of Economics and Finance.


Tell is about your research and the data you work with. 

I am a 2nd year doctoral student in the Department of Economics and Finance. I work in the field of Macroeconomics which involves looking at the economies of countries. The data that I use is in the form of Government statistics that aim to describe the economy. This data is usually available publicly through the websites of the Government statistical agencies. Understanding this data has wider public value for many different reasons. One that I can mention is one of public accountability. A deeper understanding of Government statistics by the General Public would help us to hold Politicians to account, when they make certain claims about the health of the economy.

Are there any data challenges associated with your research, in particular around managing, sharing or reusing open data?

As already mentioned , I am fortunate to not have to collect any data myself as I am using third party sources.  However, there are occasionally some issues when using third party data. Understanding the calculations that were done to create the series is often information that is a bit tricky to access. As I am looking at the statistics of various countries, I need to ensure consistency between the different data sources that I use. Ensuring consistency between the methodology of data between different countries can sometimes be tricky.

How have you overcome these challenges?

I would usually have to look in to the meta-data of the dataset to read what the statisticians methodology and definition of each series is and check if the same methodology was used across countries. This meta-data is often available along with the main data source, however, if for whatever reason I either cannot find it or access it, I often contact the third part source directly. If you are using third party data , and anything is unclear I would suggest you contact the organisers of the source of the data. I have found that being proactive in communicating with third parties about their data has led to clarification on the data which the party often did not realise was unclear. This has benefits for everyone using the data. It is sometimes even an opportunity to share your research ideas with other organisations.

What data management advice would you give to a first year doctoral student?

Starting to think about data early on is a really good idea. It can often shape the research idea itself, as research is hard to carry out without the availability of corresponding data. Thinking through the data process methodologically is a useful habit to develop. This involves steps on thinking about data harvesting, data management, ethics (if applicable) and ensuring readability over time. Talking to your supervisor about data management can be a useful thing to do as they might have some tips for you, depending on the kind of data that you are working with.



Competition time!

To celebrate Love Data Week 2018, figshare (who provide our data repository are running a competition for the most items uploaded between 12th and 16th February. Each researcher who uploads data to the winning Institution’s repository wins some figshare swag!

Start thinking about what data you might like to upload (e.g. but not limited to – data which underpin a recently accepted paper, or data you believe has long-term value).

If you have any questions related to data publishing or using brunelfigshare, please do get in touch


Save the date for Love Data Week 2018

This years theme is Data Stories:

Stories about data – What can be learned from our own failures and successes in dealing with data?

Telling stories with data – The role of data in the daily work for many professionals. How are data being used in creative and compelling ways to tell a clear story, whether to raise awareness, change behaviour, or organize action?

Connected conversations  – What are the challenges and strategies of working with data in various silos – professional, institutional, national? How can we facilitate conversation between communities that have similar challenges, but who may not interact in daily work?

We are data – seeing the people behind the data – Everyone who uses connected devices are generating massive amounts of data as we move through our daily lives. What are the personal, ethical, and practical implications of living in a culture that commoditizes our every digital move?

Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram using #lovedata18 and follow the Love Your Data Blog

Open Access Week 2017

This week is Open Access Week, a global event now in its 10th year, which celebrates and promotes open access to scholarly publications and data.
The theme this year is ‘open in order to…’ which asks us to think about the concrete benefits of making research open access – to move beyond talking about openness in itself and focus on what openness enables – for an individual discipline, at a particular institution, or in a specific context; then to take action to realise these benefits. See open in order to for some inspiring examples and be sure to follow the conversation on Twitter #OAWeek.

Want to find out more about Open Access at Brunel?
The Scholarly Communication Office team (SCO) will be running the following two APEX workshops. Click on the links to book (Brunel authentication required)