Advanced Research Computing


Third-Party Dataset Project

A project to improve the way in which UCL deals with datasets provided for research by third parties.



ARC will be working with other departments and teams across UCL to:

  • Improve coordination, governance and compliance

  • Improve access to internal data

  • Improve sharing and curation of data

  • Improve infrastructure for data storage, sharing and analysis

  • Improve skill development and training for staff

  • Improve retention of highly skilled staff


Research groups frequently acquire licenses for datasets and then prepare them for use to answer various research questions. This process has a huge overhead involving contracts, compliance (IG) and finance to obtain data. Delays in acquiring access to data can be a significant barrier to research.

Datasets are drawn from a variety of research domains including health, social care, education, and consumer behaviour. While the datasets might vary considerably the process involved in the acquisition of the data are often similar yet handled differently across departments and faculties. There are, therefore, potential benefits to be had from the better coordination of the data acquisition and access processes.


One output is to review and revise the processes by which we manage datasets being brought in to the university from 3rd-parties. The other is to provide a curated ‘living’ catalogue of third-party datasets reflecting the 3rd-party datasets available to researchers at UCL, indicating what they cover, who can access them, and the terms of use.

We are looking to ensure UCL processes for managing 3rd-party data are coordinated and efficient – mitigating risks of inadvertent duplication, unnecessary expense, and underutilisation of datasets. We also aim to be as transparent as possible regarding access, ensuring that the proper individuals or teams are signposted if additional permission is required.

How do I get involved?

If you have had issues obtaining third-party datasets in the past, we would be interested in hearing about your experiences so that we can streamline our processes in future. We can be reached at researchdata-support@ucl.ac.uk.

We are also looking to expand our collection, so if you represent a third party, and have a dataset which you would like to be more easily accessible, please get in touch with us through the same email indicating that you would like to contribute to this compilation.