Extension for the Longitudinal Studies Centre - Scotland (LSCS) from 2018 to 2020

Lead Research Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Department Name: Sch of Geosciences

Abstract

Summary:

We will continue to develop the Scottish longitudinal Study, extending its potential through the addition of new datasets, expanding its research user base by making the data more accessible via synthetic data and providing access from other national safe havens, whilst building on the infrastructure created by CALLS-Hub.

Our 8 objectives for the 30 month period are to:

1. Enhance the SLS through linkages to new datasets
The key focus of the first year will be the linking justice data to the SLS. Beyond 2018 we will continue investigating with a number of data controllers, the possibility of linking further and higher education data; information on educational attainment in private schools; social security data; diabetes data from the national diabetes database; and care home data. All new linkages to the SLS are subject to approval from the individual data controllers or subject to additional approval from the national-level Public Benefit and Privacy Panel (PBPP) for Health and Social Care.

2. Support access and use of the SLS by researchers, working towards extending access across Scotland
We will continue our high quality support of users. In particular, we will promote the use of synthetic data extracts and improve the efficiency of accessing the SLS data by extending research access to the SLS to the other national Safe Havens. We will also provide web-based resources and training courses that will help make using the SLS easier.

3. Maintain the SLS and the SLS Safe Setting Room
We will continue with the core maintenance tasks of the study including the introduction of thin clients and virtual machines.

4. Promote the research potential of the SLS
We will continue revising and updating the website including new SLS working papers, and outcomes from projects, new training materials. This will cover some of the CALLS-Hub tasks.

5. Promote the impact of the SLS
The SLS already has a track record of directly promoting the impact of its research. We will continue our collaborations with Scottish governmental agencies in promoting research that has public benefits and policy implications.

6. Work with CeLSIUS and NILS-RSU towards a smooth transition taking over CALLS-Hub
We will work with colleagues in CeLSIUS and NILS-RSU to ensure that key parts of CALLS-Hub are maintained and continued.

7. Engage and collaborate with other ESRC investments
We will continue working with other RSUs, Administrative Data Research Centre Scotland (ADRC-S), the ESRC Doctoral Training Network (DTN), UK Data Service (UKDS) and Cohort and Longitudinal Studies Enhancement Resources (CLOSER) to seek collaboration in data governance and organisation of researcher training.

8. Conduct methodological development work - in particular on historical cohorts to allow longer and inter-censal follow-up
We will undertake appropriate substantive research to promote the potential of the SLS. We will continue to work with colleagues in ADRC-S around extending the synthetic data we can offer researchers (ie long format data) now that it has been piloted by a few SLS projects. We will also extend our non-SLS historical datasets during the period. We will improve the recently added NHS GP postcode data by providing user documentation and derived variables that can be accessed by our researchers.

Planned Impact

The value of longitudinal datasets has long been recognized, and the SLS was created in order to provide a high quality longitudinal research dataset that could be used to provide an insight into the demographic, health and social status of the Scottish population. Scotland had been disadvantaged relative to England and Wales in the poverty of its longitudinal databases (i.e. databases that link individuals' characteristics through time, allowing changing circumstances to be investigated). The SLS, fairly uniquely, allows questions to be asked about the demographic, health and social status of the Scottish population, and the changing pattern.

This is important because Scotland differs considerably from the rest of Britain in a number of ways. For example, on average Scots live in more deprived circumstances, have lower fertility rates, higher teenage fertility rates, and are more likely to live in public housing than people living in England and Wales. In addition, overall mortality rates are higher than the rest of Britain, even when we control for age distribution and the relatively more deprived circumstances in Scotland (commonly described as the 'Scottish Effect' or 'west of Scotland effect'), and deaths from specific causes such as lung cancer and heart disease rank among the worst in Europe. Indeed, lung cancer rates for Scottish women are among the highest in the world. Thus, Scotland provides a unique demographic, socio-economic and health context within the UK, and there has been a lack of research on a number of important topics. These are all issues that can be explored using the SLS and they become especially important as social and health policies continue to diverge between Scotland and the rest of the UK as a result of devolution.

Because of its unique composition and the large proportion of the population it represents (5.3% of the Scottish population as compared to 1% in the ONS LS for England and Wales), the SLS provides benefits to researchers from a wide range of academic disciplines, including social scientists, geographers, health researchers, economists and labour market analysts to name a few (see 'Academic Beneficiaries' above). This impact reaches beyond Scottish academics, with researchers from other UK and European countries already having used the SLS for their projects. Outputs and publications from SLS-based projects are published and presented widely in international journals and at international conferences.

In addition to this academic impact, the SLS has also been used to examine a wide range of research questions feeding into government social, education, health and housing policy. This has included reports and studies conducted on behalf of the Scottish Government, Chief Scientist Office, Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy, and Glasgow Centre for Population Health. Further over the years researchers from the Glasgow Council, department of Employability, Skills and Lifelong Learning, ISD/NHS have been involved in policy-relevant research projects utilizing the strengths of the SLS. The presentations from other SLS-based studies have been given at Scottish Government events, research contributed to a chapter in the Register General's 2017 Annual Review and several discussion papers have been published by the IZA Institute for the Study of Labor. One SLS project 'Consequences, risk factors, and geography of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET)' saw the SLS team work closely with Scottish Government (particularly the department of Employability, Skills and Lifelong Learning) from study design to Scottish Government reports. These reports influenced the development of the participation measure and 'Opportunities for All', the Community Jobs Fund, briefing for Ministers including First Minister's Questions and work with local authorities and other Scottish Government departments including health, housing and justice.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Since the funding extension the LSCS has been in the process of amalgamating under one umbrella with the ONS (England and Wales) and NILS (Northern Ireland) longitudinal studies including the CALLS Hub. We are in the process of rebranding the website and as a collective the first annual conference of the 3 LSs will be held in Belfast on 8th and 9th April 2019.

Within the SLS specifically there have been the following key developments:

Additionally, we have worked collaboratively with the ADRC-S to develop a new Secure Researcher Training one day course which is approved by ONS and meets with PBPP approval. One of the SLS team is now a trainer and the courses are being run under the auspices of ADRC-S with our team member using one day a fortnight to manage the training. We also provide training in the use of the SLS data and Survival Analysis training annually.

An ongoing pilot study involving the SLS and NRS Indexing teams, which aims to link SLS vital events deaths through the population spine has completed its initial phase with very successful and encouraging results. This study has developed a new and more efficient method to link SLS deaths (and will be extended to all vital event records in due course) and should reduce the lag period between when vital events are produced and when they are linked to the SLS for research use. As well as being more efficient, initial analysis suggests that this new approach will improve linkage success rates to 99% from its current rate of 95%. We will add the missing deaths to the SKLS members in the next data release.

Progress has been made by NRS on processing Vital Events data and we will shortly be able to release Vital Events data with deaths up to the end of 2013 to our researchers. NRS have finished processing 2014 VE data and currently preparing 2015-2017 to go to NHSCR so we are expecting to be able to release more data to our researchers throughout the year.

Synthetic Data has been available for SLS users for a few years now with projects using and requesting this resource. We have created a complex synthetic data teaching dataset which has been used in training events and we are now looking to extend this to look at creating synthetic health data.

Software and resource development and maintenance has continued and we have produced a compiled version of the eDataShield R package including help files. This will help facilitate cross LS studies and potentially cross European studies. Maintenance of the synthetic data R package "synthpop" is ongoing. We continue to make these resources available via our website including the recently updated Consistent Areas through time for Scotland (CATTS).

We continue to investigate and push forward linkages to other external datasets including crime and justice data, data from the Higher Education Statistical Agency and school leavers destination data.

In light of increased demand, we have also investigated various ways to improve. This includes amending our statistical disclosure control guidelines to encourage researchers to take on more responsibility for output checking and reducing the workload on support officers. We have also increased capacity of our safe setting space to accommodate increasing numbers of researchers looking to use SLS data.

Upgrades to the IT infrastructure and server system is ongoing and the new equipment is on track to be up and running ready for a planned office move in April 2019

In addition to this, following the SLS Steering Committee meeting, successful provisional discussions have been held to have the Permissions to allow the SLS to be accessed from remote locations using the National Safe Haven have now been obtained and we expect remote access to be available by the end of the year. Discussions around how this can be extended into the new ESRC safepods is ongoing.
Exploitation Route The SLS already has relatively wide engagement with the academic communities and we are at a point where we are almost ready to launch safepods in other academic institutions and at the National Safe Haven at the Edinburgh Bioquarter. We have already participated in two Scottish Government 'Evidence in Policy' events in November 2018 which were positively received and are set to present at the Civil Service Live event in the summer.

Progress has been made by NRS on processing Vital Events data and we are now able to release Vital Events data with deaths up to the end of 2013 to our researchers. NRS have finished processing 2014 VE data and currently preparing 2015-2017 to go to NHSCR so we are expecting to be able to release more data to our researchers throughout the year. As a unit we hold a great breadth of data over our projects. We also currently have a researcher using our Children of the SLS data sample (COTS).

In addition, we maintain a presence on the web and social media with regular Tweets - we have made 1,287 Tweets since joining Twitter and have 682 followers. We provide training in the use of the SLS data and Survival Analysis training annually. Furthermore, we will be promoting the SLS to the general public at the Glasgow Science Festival this summer.

The research findings of external researchers using the SLS have been taken forward in a wide variety of ways, all of which are recorded on our SLS website. We also promote these research findings, which are often applied in nature through a variety of knowledge excahnage mechanisms including social media, presentations (to academics and government). We continue to make available via our website, packages which are useful to researchers such as eDATASHIELD, SYNTHPOP and the recently updated Consistent Areas through time for Scotland (CATTS). Our Data Dictionary is also current and freely available online.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education,Environment,Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice

URL https://sls.lscs.ac.uk/
 
Description The Scottish Longitudinal Study continues to have wide impact outside of the academia. The SLS team continue to have impact in terms of data and statistical infrastructure within the National Records for Scotland (NRS). Planning and preparation within NRS for the 2021 census in Scotland is ongoing and we have been involved in early discussions regarding how the SLS will be integrated into this process. Importantly, the unique characteristics of the SLS data (i.e. that is contains individuals linked in time) will be used to assist the census team with quality assurance checks and to check for errors in the returned records. In the past year we have been active in working with colleagues at the electronic Data Research Innovation Service (eDRIS), the National Health Service Central Register (NHSCR) and the NRS Indexing team and have been driving forward innovation in terms of a new and improved way of creating data linkages to the NRS population spine. These approaches are a long term investment and will deliver significant efficiency gains for future data linkage projects including linkages to up to date vital events data as these records become available. This is also to be used to improve the process by which NHS health data is to be linked to the SLS in the future. Synthetic data, which was developed by the SLS, continues to be a source of impact and is now being used widely for both training and research purposes including by statistical agencies outside the UK including by Stats Canada. Synthetic data continues to be used for training purposes including being used in a joint week long ADRC-S/SLS training course run by the two centres in October 2017. Within the past 6 months a new (NRS) SLS project manager has been appointed and this has allowed us to focus on increasing the use of the SLS within the Scottish Policy environment. This has included discussions with the new Chief Executive of NRS about more focused engagement with various Scottish Government people and avenues that we might explore to push this forward. The SLS team has been working to discuss, promote and invite Scottish Government policy makers to understand and communicate with the SLS including the production of research briefs for policy purposes on topics including 'Educational engagement, expectation and attainment of children with disabilities'. In addition, we have promoted the SLS at two Scottish Government Evidence in Policy Events (Glasgow and Edinburgh) in November 2018 which were positively received and have generated requests for additional information. On the back of this, we will promote the SLS at the Civil Service Live event in summer 2019. To further increase our reach with policymakers we intend to develop a "rapid-response" census and health data extract which can be accessed quickly to meet policy requirements at short notice and with a quick turnaround. In order to increase engagement with the public, the SLS has identified several events that it could be present at and plans are underway to attend both the Glasgow Science Festival and the Orkney International Science Festival. Interactive presentations are in development for these events and other prospective events are being sought. The SLS has also engaged with a range of audiences through our 'Introduction to the SLS' course and presentations, as well as providing a training course on 'Introduction to Survival Analysis Data.' Finally, we continue to support researchers and their output and have supported 12 projects in 2018 and one new project has been approved in January 2019. Since the beginning of the SLS Project to date, we have supported 121 projects. On a day-to-day basis the SLS Team support our service users in the Safe Setting at Ladywell House. In 2018, researchers used the Safe Setting on 262 occasions. By year, there has been a steady increase in use of the safe setting, with 2017 being our busies year so far and 2018 maintaining a high level of usage despite some closures due to staff shortages. Year Number of visits 2009 25 2010 83 2011 96 2012 119 2013 76 2014 89 2015 157 2016 249 2017 297 2018 262 Our service users have produced 218 final outputs which have been cleared for release into the public domain by the SLS. In the past year, our service users have produced 40 outputs, 2 of which were theses. Our service users disseminate their findings through various channels, such as presentations and posters at international conferences and workshops, invited talks, through publications as well as research and policy briefs all of which would not be possible without the rich data of the SLS.
First Year Of Impact 2008
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education,Environment,Healthcare
Impact Types Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description Evidence in Policy - presentation by SLS Team members Greg Blackadder, Dawn Everington & Lynne Forrest 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact SLS Team members, Greg Blackadder, Dr Lynne Forrest and Dawn Everington presented at two engagement events in Glasgow and Edinburgh on 8/11/18, 14/11/18 with Scottish Government. Presenting on the work done by the SLS and how it impacts on policy.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Exploring the drivers of social and spatial mobility, and the impact on health in later life: Data linkage of the Scottish Mental Survey 1947 with the Scottish Longitudinal Study and other administrative data sources 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Dr Lynne Forrest presented at the Centre for Population Change brown Bag Seminar on 31st May 2018- hour-long, in-depth presentation of research to researchers, Scottish Govt and post-grads etc
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Generating Synthetic Data with 'Synthpop' Package for R, 20th June 2018, at ADRN Conference Belfast 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact A pre-conference workshop delivered by Dr Beata Nowok, SLS Team Member to attendees at the ADRN Conference 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://adr2018.wordpress.com/programme/
 
Description Introduction to Survival Analysis, 7th June 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact SLS staff members, Prof Gillian Raab, Dawn Everington and Lynne Forrest delivered a one-day workshop on survival analysis for time to event data suitable for those with experience of statistical analyses but new to this type of analysis. This course was of particular interest to those considering using the Scottish Longitudinal Study to analyse time to event data. This workshop introduced methods to display and model time to event data, including Kaplan-Meier plots and Cox proportional hazards regression. The survival analysis theory was complimented with hands-on practical sessions using either SPSS, Stata or R on training datasets. Presentations of real projects were also given to demonstrate research potential. The course was intended for postgraduate students, academics and social or health researchers interested in learning how to do survival analysis in a statistical package. There were 19 attendees two of which undertook SLS Research Projects.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Introduction to using linked administrative data for social and health research 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Lynne Forrest attended a 5 day training course (8-12 oct 2018) - The course gave an introduction to administrative data, describing what it is, some of the particular problems in working with this type of data and how to deal with this. Theoretical sessions were backed up by hands-on practical sessions, using R or Stata to write syntax to tidy, clean and recode data; link datasets; manipulate data; conduct data visualisation; document workflow; identify data quality issues; and fit regression models.
There were sessions on: indexing, linking and joining datasets; working with dates and times; descriptive and inferential statistics for administrative data; and methods for dealing with missing data and how to apply for access to linked data, and secure data access within a safe setting, as well as the ethical, confidentiality and disclosure issues around using this type of data.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description ONS Secure Researcher Training 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact SLS Team Member Lynne Forrest and colleagues from the ADRC-S ran Secure Researcher Training courses on 12/12/18, 25/1/19, 1/2/19, 15/2/19 and 22/9/19 - these were a series of 1-day training courses to accreditate researchers (required to access ONS, SLS, health data)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
URL http://adrc-scotland-sure-training.weebly.com/
 
Description SOCIETY FOR LONGITUDINAL AND LIFECOURSE STUDIES (SLLS) 2018 INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE, Dr Zhiqiang Feng 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Dr Zhiqiang Feng presented research on young people not in employment, education or training (NEETS) on 10th July 2018 in Milan.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Seminar on the Scottish effect, Dr Zhiqiang Feng 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Dr Zhiqiang Feng presented at a Seminar on the Scottish Effect, 11th December 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Social and spatial mobility and self-reported heath in older-age: linkage of the Scottish Longitudinal Study to the Scottish Mental Survey 1947 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Dr Lynne Forrest gave a poster presentation at ADRN 2018 conference in Belfast, 20-22 June 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://ijpds.org/article/view/559/483
 
Description The role of geographical mobility in intergenerational social mobility: Life course analysis linking the Scottish Longitudinal Study, Scottish Mental Survey 1947 and 1939 Register data 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Dr Lynne Forrest presented at SLLS Conference, Milan, 9-22 July 2018
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description VISIT OF DELEGATION FROM NATIONAL BUREAU OF STATISTICS, Peoples Republic of China - Zhiqiang Feng 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Dr Zhiqiang Feng introduced the SLS to Chinese delegates from Statistics Bureau on 16th October 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Workshop on administrative data for population research by Zhiqiang Feng 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Dr Zhiqiang Feng presented at a Workshop on Administrative Data for population Research on 28th January 2019. He Introduced the SLS to Chinese professionals in health and population research and administration
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Workshop on data for analysis for Scottish Government, Dr Zhiqiang Feng 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Dr Zhiqiang Feng introduced the SLS and NEET projects to statisticians in Scottish Government
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018