In JMIR public health and surveillance
BACKGROUND : Health research using commercial data is increasing. The evidence on public acceptability and sociodemographic characteristics of individuals willing to share commercial data for health research is scarce.
OBJECTIVE : This survey study investigates the willingness to share commercial data for health research in the United Kingdom with 3 different organizations (government, private, and academic institutions), 5 different data types (internet, shopping, wearable devices, smartphones, and social media), and 10 different invitation methods to recruit participants for research studies with a focus on sociodemographic characteristics and psychological predictors.
METHODS : We conducted a web-based survey using quota sampling based on age distribution in the United Kingdom in July 2020 (N=1534). Chi-squared tests tested differences by sociodemographic characteristics, and adjusted ordered logistic regressions tested associations with trust, perceived importance of privacy, worry about data misuse and perceived risks, and perceived benefits of data sharing. The results are shown as percentages, adjusted odds ratios, and 95% CIs.
RESULTS : Overall, 61.1% (937/1534) of participants were willing to share their data with the government and 61% (936/1534) of participants were willing to share their data with academic research institutions compared with 43.1% (661/1534) who were willing to share their data with private organizations. The willingness to share varied between specific types of data-51.8% (794/1534) for loyalty cards, 35.2% (540/1534) for internet search history, 32% (491/1534) for smartphone data, 31.8% (488/1534) for wearable device data, and 30.4% (467/1534) for social media data. Increasing age was consistently and negatively associated with all the outcomes. Trust was positively associated with willingness to share commercial data, whereas worry about data misuse and the perceived importance of privacy were negatively associated with willingness to share commercial data. The perceived risk of sharing data was positively associated with willingness to share when the participants considered all the specific data types but not with the organizations. The participants favored postal research invitations over digital research invitations.
CONCLUSIONS : This UK-based survey study shows that willingness to share commercial data for health research varies; however, researchers should focus on effectively communicating their data practices to minimize concerns about data misuse and improve public trust in data science. The results of this study can be further used as a guide to consider methods to improve recruitment strategies in health-related research and to improve response rates and participant retention.
Hirst Yasemin, Stoffel Sandro T, Brewer Hannah R, Timotijevic Lada, Raats Monique M, Flanagan James M
acceptability, commercial data, data, data donation, data sharing, digital, health, loyalty cards, mobile phone, participant recruitment, public, sociodemographic factors