Frequently Asked Questions

What is LSHTM Data Compass?

LSHTM Data Compass is a curated digital repository of research outputs produced by, or with involvement of, staff and students at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, MRC Unit The Gambia, and/or the MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Uganda Research Unit.

The repository is maintained by the LSHTM Research Data Manager, based in the LSHTM Library & Archives Services. Correspondence concerning LSHTM Data Compass should be sent to

What resources are hosted in LSHTM Data Compass?

LSHTM Data Compass can be used to host digital resources that are useful to verify and reproduce research findings. This includes:

  • Qualitative and quantitative data
  • Code, algorithms and scripts
  • Search strategies
  • Research instruments, such as questionnaires and interview guides
  • Other files intended for reuse

Confidential and Highly Confidential data, as defined in the LSHTM Information Management and Security Policy, and third party material not permitted to be distributed, will not be accepted. However, a metadata-only record may be created to describe these resources.

Pre and post-prints, book chapters, conference proceedings, theses, videos, etc. are not accepted. These are made available in LSHTM Research Online.

Contact for advice.

What are the benefits of submitting resources to LSHTM Data Compass?

Each resource will be:

  • Assigned a permanent Digital Object Identifier (DOI) that can be cited in publications
  • Maintained to ensure it will be accessible and usable in the long-term
  • Monitored to determine the number of downloads and how it is cited in publications and social media

What support documents should be provided?

Resources should be accompanied by documentation sufficient to understand its content, how it was produced, and how it may be accessed. For instance:

  • The Participant Information Sheet and Informed Consent Form
  • A codebook or data dictionary
  • Other support documentation

What file formats should be used when submitting resources?

The UK Data Service guidance on preservation and access format may be helpful. This can be found at

How do I upload my digital resource?

Digital resources may be submitted in two ways:

Tutorials on creating and submitting a Data Collection, Search Strategy, and other outputs are available. Contact for advice.

What access levels are supported?

Each file can be assigned one of three access levels:

  1. Anyone: File can be accessed by all, without registration.
  2. LSHTM and other registered users: File can be accessed by users with an LSHTM login. Other users must complete and submit a request form.
  3. Request access for all: All users must complete an application form, for consideration by the corresponding author.

I've published my data elsewhere. Do I need to upload it to the LSHTM digital repository?

No, but you should email to let us know that it's available. We will record its existence and promote it.

Must I provide a separate licence form for each data file?

Data published under a Creative Commons or Open Data Commons licence do not require a separate licence form. Restricted data made available on request should be accompanied by a Data Sharing Agreement or other licence that outlines permitted and non-permitted use. Contact for advice.

When will my resource be made available?

Resources submitted to LSHTM Data Compass are reviewed prior to being made available. Although we attempt to make resources available as soon as possible, please allow at least 10 working days for the review process, with more being needed for more complex resources.

Several checks are performed during this time:

  1. Ethics approvals: checked to ensure no additional permissions are needed to make the resource available.
  2. Consent form: reviewed to identify any conditions on access & use that may apply.
  3. Content: checked to ensure files do not contain personal or confidential data that cannot be made available.
  4. File formats: checked for corruption and accessibility.
  5. Codebook: checked for completeness and accuracy. Any differences between values recorded in the data and codebook will be queried.
  6. Metadata: checked to confirm it is complete and understandable.

We will work with corresponding authors to identify and address potential issues.

I've published an item. Can I update it?

Contact to request an update to a published item:

  • Metadata changes: Minor amendments may be made without creating a new version, e.g. to correct spelling errors, reword content to clarify ambiguity.
  • File updates: The release of an updated or derived dataset may require the publication of a new metadata record, to ensure versioning is handled correctly. Please contact us for guidance on the specific scenario.

How do I access datasets made available through controlled access?

Many datasets recorded in LSHTM Data Compass cannot be made openly available. The reasons for this restriction can vary, frequently influenced by legal and ethical constraints associate with the study in which data was collected. However, it may be feasible to provide access to a limited, anonymised dataset for the purpose of research verification or use in new research, subject to access conditions being met.

Researchers wishing to apply for data should complete and submit a data application form, outlining the research purpose for which they wish to use the data, a list of variables that they wish to access, and information on how they fulfil the access conditions. Conditions may vary for each study. For example, applicants may be asked to provide evidence of ethics approval, demonstrate that their research relates to a specific condition or population, and/or that they have received relevant training. The application will be evaluated by a study committee, in conjunction with relevant ethics committees and the repository manager.

If the application fulfils the eligibility criteria, the applicant will be provided with a Data Transfer Agreement that must be signed by their host organisation. Once signed, an anonymised dataset will be prepared that fulfils the applicant’s criteria (where feasible) and transferred to the applicant using a secure transfer method.

Where can I find LSHTM's Research Data Management resources?

Several public resources are available via the Research Data Management Guide collection page. These include:

Further information is available on the LSHTM Sharepoint and Servicedesk intranet (login required).