The Scottish Longitudinal Study (SLS) is a
pioneering study, combining census, civil
registration, health and education data
(administrative data). It has established an
approach that allows the legal and ethical use of
personal, sensitive information by maintaining
anonymity within the data system. This approach
has become a model for the national data linkage
systems that are now being established across the
UK. The SLS has also enabled policy analysts to
monitor key characteristics of the Scottish
population in particular health inequalities (alerting policy makers to
Scotland's poor position within
Europe), migration (aiding economic planning) and changing tenure patterns
building decisions). Finally, the study has become fully embedded in
Scotland's National Statistical
agency, allowing it to produce new informative statistical series.
KCL research played an essential role in the development of data
provenance standards published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
standards body for web technologies, which is responsible for HTTP, HTML,
etc. The provenance of data concerns records of the processes by which
data was produced, by whom, from what other data, and similar metadata.
The standards directly impact on practitioners and professional
services through adoption by commercial, governmental and other
bodies, such as Oracle, IBM, and Nasa, in handling computational records
of the provenance of data.
There is growing evidence that official population statistics based on
the decennial UK Census are inaccurate at the local authority level, the
fundamental administrative unit of the UK. The use of locally-available
administrative data sets for counting populations can result in more
timely and geographically more flexible data which are more cost-effective
to produce than the survey-based Census. Professor Mayhew of City
University London has spent the last 13 years conducting research on
administrative data and their application to counting populations at local
level. This work has focused particularly on linking population estimates
to specific applications in health and social care, education and crime.
Professor Mayhew developed a methodology that is now used as an
alternative to the decennial UK Census by a large number of local councils
and health care providers. They have thereby gained access to more
accurate, detailed and relevant data which have helped local government
officials and communities make better policy decisions and save money. The
success of this work has helped to shape thinking on statistics in
England, Scotland and Northern Ireland and has contributed to the debate
over whether the decennial UK Census should be discontinued.
Database and URL hijacking is a very real and damaging threat for
businesses and their brands. Professor David Duce and Dr Faye Mitchell
successfully partnered with Nominet, a leading internet domain registry,
to help detect abuse of their WHOIS system and develop tools to better
understand and deal with typosquatting. Their approach enabled
improvements to Nominet's information services and practices, whilst also
influencing the wider technical community. These benefits included better
policing of systems, securing brands, reducing fraud and starting to get
people thinking about what can be done with data to gain insights and
understanding of behaviours.
Our research has enabled archaeological professional and commercial
organisations to integrate diverse archaeology excavation datasets and
significantly develop working practices. Commercial archaeological
datasets are usually created on a per-site basis structured via differing
schema and vocabularies. These isolated information silos hinder
meaningful cross search and comparison. As the only record of unrepeatable
fieldwork, it is essential that these data are made available for re-use
and re-interpretation. As a result of the research, the Archaeology Data
Service, English Heritage, the Royal Commissions on the Ancient and
Historical Monuments of Scotland and Wales have published as Linked Data
important excavation datasets and national vocabularies that can act as
hubs in the web of archaeological data.
Open Data has lowered barriers to data access, increased government
transparency and delivered significant economic, social and environmental
benefits. Southampton research and leadership has led to the UK Public
Data Principles, which were enshrined in the UK Government Open Data White
Paper, and has led to data.gov.uk, which provides access to 10,000
government datasets. The open datasets are proving means for strong
citizen engagement and are delivering economic benefit through the £10
million Open Data Institute. These in turn have placed the UK at the
forefront of the global data revolution: the UK experience has informed
open data initiatives in the USA, EU and G8.
Small area estimation (SAE) describes the use of Bayesian modelling of
survey and administrative data in order to provide estimates of survey
responses at a much finer level than is possible from the survey alone.
Over the recent past, academic publications have mostly targeted the
development of the methodology for SAE using small-scale examples. Only
predictions on the basis of realistically sized samples have the potential
to impact on governance and our contribution is to fill a niche by
delivering such SAEs on a national scale through the use of a scaling
method. The impact case study concerns the use of these small area
predictions to develop disease-level predictions for some 8,000 GPs in
England and so to produce a funding formula for use in primary care that
has informed the allocation of billions of pounds of NHS money. The value
of the model has been recognised in NHS guidelines. The methodology has
begun to have impact in other areas, including the BIS `Skills for Life'
UCL research has created a groundbreaking names classification tool for
use by healthcare organisations, local government and industry. This
improved the effectiveness of public service delivery to different
cultural, linguistic and ethnic groups, in applications such as A&E
admissions and GP referral patterns. It was used by the leading provider
of commercial geodemographic segmentation of neighbourhoods as a more
differentiated source of ethnicity information than Census sources alone.
The public was engaged with research through popular websites and
extensive media coverage, and the research has provided interactive tools
through which science museums have improved public understanding of
genetics and family history.
A quiet technology revolution in the UK has been changing the way that
police officers on the beat and hospital nurses access and record
information, using handheld electronic notebooks that bring large time and
cost savings. This revolution began as a University of Glasgow research
programme and led to the creation of a successful spin-out company, Kelvin
Connect. Acquired in 2011 by the UK's largest provider of communications
for emergency services, Kelvin Connect has grown to 30 staff. Its Pronto
systems are now in use by 10% of UK police forces and nursing staff in
several UK hospitals.
Coombes' research to advance spatial-analysis methodology has re-defined
Travel-to-Work Areas (TTWAs) — the only official UK boundaries defined by
academics — and produced three distinct strands of impact.