Transferring large datasets between sites poses many logistical, legal and ethical challenges. To overcome these, data from the EU Child Cohort Network are analysed using DataSHIELD.

DataSHIELD is an open-source technological solution to coordinate analyses of data that cannot be shared for practical or ethical reasons. It allows researchers to conduct analyses on individual-level information from multiple sources without the data, or identifying derivatives of which, ever being disclosed.Further information on DataSHIELD, including how it works, links to DataSHIELD package manuals, upcoming DataSHIELD-related events and DataSHIELD news can be found at the DataSHIELD website:

Other useful resources are the DataSHIELD Wiki page:

The LifeCycle github, where users can share code:

For technical and security documentation:
Security architecture LifeCycle

Useful references:
  • Doiron D et al. (2017). Software Application Profile: Opal and Mica: open-source software solutions for epidemiological data management, harmonization and dissemination. Int J Epidemiol. 46(5):1372-1378
  • Budin-Ljøsne I et al. (2015). DataSHIELD: an ethically robust solution to multiple-site individual-level data analysis. Public Health Genomics. 18(2):87-96
  • Gaye A et al. (2014). DataSHIELD: taking the analysis to the data, not the data to the analysis. Int J Epidemiol. 43(6):1929-44
  • Wallace SE et al. (2014). Protecting personal data in epidemiological research: DataSHIELD and UK law. Public Health Genomics. 17(3):149-57
  • Wolfson M et al. (2010). DataSHIELD: resolving a conflict in contemporary bioscience--performing a pooled analysis of individual-level data without sharing the data. Int J Epidemiol. 39(5):1372-82