Application Process

Please note that the application process information on this page refers specifically to data requests for research purposes. Applicants seeking data for non-research purposes are advised to contact us using the non-research queries portal.

Accessing administrative data for research is highly complex. All projects are assigned a Request Coordinator to support the application process from start to finish.

We strongly recommend that applicants familiarise themselves with the Research Data Services Roles and Responsibilities guide. This document outlines duties of stakeholders in facilitating access to data for research purposes, and the activities and interdependent approval requirements for each stage of the process. This includes researcher’s responsibilities throughout the application process. For an overview of the activities and interdependent approval requirements, see the ‘Data Applications for Research Purposes’ flowchart.

Data application documents and variable lists are available for download via the Application Forms page.

Materials on this page are available for download – please acknowledge Data Linkage Services and the WA Department of Health as a source where applicable.

Stage 1: Pre-Application

This is the first point of contact between the applicant and the Department to discuss data application requirements and whether the request seems viable. A Request Coordinator from the ISPD Client Services team will provide guidance to the applicant in developing their draft application, which is necessary for the Preliminary Review.

Stage 2: Preliminary Review

The Preliminary Review commences after the applicant has submitted a draft application. ISPD Client Services reviews and validates the application to ensure completeness, and liaises with internal stakeholders to assess the technical viability of the request.

Applicants are advised to arrange access to the Research Governance Service workspace if they do not already have an existing account.

Stage 3: Data Custodian Feasibility Assessment

Feasibility reviews are coordinated by the ISPD Client Services team, bringing together internal stakeholders to consider the practical feasibility the data request, and provide expert advice on the proper use and interpretation of the data.

Feedback from the Draft Application Review meeting is collated by the Request Coordinator and provided to the applicant. This review is an iterative process, which may take longer for more complex requests.

If feedback has been adequately addressed by the applicant (and the data application is deemed feasible), Data Custodians will provide in-principle support. A feasibility letter will be provided to the applicant via email to inform of Data Custodians’ in-principle support. The feasibility letter is required for ethical approval. If applicable, a cost estimate will also be provided at this point.

Stage 4: Ethical Approval

Upon receipt of the feasibility letter, the applicant is required to apply for ethical approval(s) through the relevant ethical bodies, including the Department’s Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC).

Applications for ethical approval with HREC must be completed using the Research Governance Service workspace; the feasibility letter must be submitted with the ethical application.

If data is being requested to perform health-related research involving Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people, ethics approval may be required from the Western Australian Aboriginal Health Ethics Committee (WAAHEC).

For more details on ethical approval processes, please refer to the Department’s HREC website.

Stage 5: Data Custodian Formal Review

Data Custodian Formal Review is sought when an application has received necessary ethical approval(s); the applicant should notify ISPD Client Services when ethical approval(s) have been received.

The Data Custodians will review the ethics approved application against the version that received in-principle support for any changes that may have been made during the ethical approval stage. If the Data Custodians are satisfied that the ethics approved application meets the requirements for use of the data, they will provide their formal approval.

All relevant Data Custodians will sign the Data Custodian Approval for Research Project documentation. ISPD Client Services will notify the applicant of the Formal Review and initiate Site Authorisation as part of the Research Governance Approvals.

Stage 6: Research Governance Approvals

The application is reviewed against professional and legal considerations, including financial accountability, transparency, and consistency with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2007). Applicants are strongly advised to contact the Research Governance Office to ensure correct forms are submitted for governance approval.

Provided that the applicant has a login for the Research Governance Service workspace, the governance review may run concurrently alongside Linkage and Extraction work in stages seven (7) and eight (8).

Stage 7: Data Linkage

The Linkage team facilitates the provision of linked data (through creation of linkage keys) for projects which have received both Formal Custodian and ethical approvals.

Data Engineers link demographic data from approved datasets to produce linkage keys for merging with content data, producing an integrated and/or linked dataset for analysis. This work may run concurrently with the governance approvals process described in stage six (6).

Linkage may not be necessary where the data is already linked in the WA Health Enterprise Linked Data Warehouse.

Stage 8: Data Extraction

The Data Engineering team is responsible for the Department’s data warehouse infrastructure, through which data is extracted to satisfy the approved application. This team is also responsible for facilitating data quality assurance reviews.

Once required linkage work is complete, service level data will be extracted using linkage keys.

Stage 9: Data Delivery

When the data has been extracted and the relevant research governance approvals are in place, the Department will coordinate the delivery of data via a secure delivery method.

ISPD Client Services prepare and deliver extracted data, along with reference materials, such as metadata and documentation, to assist with data analysis.

Stage 10: Invoicing

Upon delivery of data, the Department determines the final cost of the project with consideration to the cost estimate provided to the applicant in stage three (3).

Stage 11: Project Closure

This stage involves:

  • Administrative processes performed by the Department to close the project;
  • Completion of a Client Feedback Survey by the applicant;
  • Review of any outputs using health data produced from the project;
  • Submitting final governance reports.

The applicant is required to provide a copy of project draft outputs to ISPD Client Services for review by internal stakeholders (including Custodians) prior to publication. In certain circumstances, draft outputs may be referred to the Department’s HREC for review.

Applicants must also provide any final outputs to the Department once published.