Becoming an AURIN Data Provider
This page informs potential data providers about AURIN and its end users. It explains how to contribute data to AURIN and the benefits of doing so.
The information on this page is provided as general guidance only. It is not intended to affect the interpretation of AURIN’s licence agreements with data providers, the AURIN Standard Data Licence or the AURIN End User Terms.
What Is AURIN?
AURIN is tasked with creating electronic research infrastructure that links urban researchers, policy- and decision-makers to data, analytical tools and visualisation components to make better decisions about Australian urban areas. AURIN coordinates the collection of information from a variety of authoritative data sources (archival and dynamic), and provides access to this information through the AURIN Portal and associated sites accessible through the AURIN Workbench.
AURIN aims to support excellence in research and evidence-based decision making that addresses issues of national significance. The AURIN data infrastructure supports deep and multi-disciplinary inquiry into issues facing Australian human settlements. It facilitates partnerships with industry and helps translate research outcomes into national benefit. AURIN is an initiative funded by the Australian government under the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) and associated programmes.
How do data providers become involved?
AURIN has a number of expert groups covering the various challenges facing Australian human settlements, as well as sub-project partners across local, state and federal governments, universities, research agencies and the private sector. These various experts and agencies have identified a number of datasets of benefit to the AURIN end user community.
Providers of such datasets are encouraged to discuss data sharing options to allow their data to be discovered, accessed and analysed through the AURIN Workbench. AURIN already receives data from more than thirty organisations. We are keen to explore how we can make your data more readily available to support researchers and policy makers who are working towards a more sustainable and productive Australia.
Who are the AURIN End Users?
Most of the facilities delivered through the AURIN Workbench are securely password protected and not accessible by the general public.
These users are primarily university staff and students undertaking analysis of environmental, social and economic processes in urban Australia. Generally, these users are members of organisations already registered with the Australian Access Federation (AAF, a national service which provides federated authentication for research users of information infrastructure at Australian universities and other research institutions such as the CSIRO. AAF members can login to the AURIN Portal using their university email addresses and passwords.
Policy and decision-makers:
These users are comprised primarily of staff from local, state and federal governments who are focused on using data and analytical tools to support public policy and management. These users apply to AURIN individually for an account to access the AURIN Portal, using the AAF ‘Virtual Home Organisation’ mechanism.
When providing data to AURIN, a data provider can release data to both user groups, or may choose to release it only to researchers.
For certain types of data, such as data containing commercially sensitive information, AURIN can discuss additional options to restrict use. AURIN can facilitate technical discussions to explore appropriate data release options.
Other Workbench facilities and tools:
Access to other AURIN facilities is supplied on request to and approval by the AURIN office.
Some AURIN facilities have open access where there is no need for restricted access to the underlying data.
What is the process for providing data to AURIN?
The process for providing data through AURIN can be broken down in to five stages: identification, licensing, processing, publication and feedback. Each of these stages is briefly described below:
AURIN works together with expert groups of end users and Sub-Project Partners to identify useful datasets for urban research. We communicate with relevant data providers, and AURIN facilitates a negotiation process to determine the most appropriate data to meet the expectations of both the data providers and the end users.
AURIN’s preferred method of data licensing is through the Creative Commons 4.0 framework. However, we realise that this framework does not suit all data products or organisations. As such, AURIN has worked together with data providers and legal counsel to develop AURIN Standard Data Licence. The AURIN Standard Data Licence is designed to meet data providers’ requirements, while also allowing for the unique data facilitation role provided by AURIN.
AURIN may also consider specific terms for providers of health data or other data providers with particular privacy or data protection needs.
Most data is already fit to be integrated into the AURIN Portal, though some processing may be required to ensure the data can be accessed, analysed and visualised. In addition, AURIN requires a minimum standard of metadata be created for each dataset, including descriptions for individual dataset attributes. This is to ensure that end users who are unfamiliar with a particular dataset have the most information available to determine if a dataset is fit for their purposes.
An appropriate data feed is required to allow users to access data in the AURIN Portal. The optimal solution is for data to be held and accessed directly from data providers. This increases end users’ confidence that they are accessing authoritative versions of datasets. If a data provider does not have the technical facilities to allow this access, AURIN has a number of Data Hubs established around Australia to allow data providers to contribute their data and make it available to the AURIN portal.
Once data is being used within the AURIN Portal, a data provider can receive various types of metrics from AURIN and the AURIN end users, such as data usage statistics, data quality feedback and examples of how the data is being used in research projects. This feedback can be used to inform data and business investment decisions in the future.
Security and privacy
AURIN takes reasonable steps to keep data secure through the AURIN environment. AURIN ensures appropriate levels in the following ways:
- Access to the AURIN Portal is restricted to AURIN end users (as explained above).
- Data providers are encouraged to store data on their own infrastructure and to deliver it dynamically through the Portal. This helps to maintain the currency of the data. It also means that data providers can autonomously manage their own security arrangements. Most of the data available on the Portal is stored in this way.
- Where possible, we use ‘pull-based’ query mechanisms to ensure that direct incoming connections from the internet to a data provider’s systems are not required.
- Data that is held on AURIN infrastructure is kept on secure servers and delivered through secure SSL connections.
- Data storage and security arrangements for particular datasets are not visible to end users, who access the Portal only through a single sign-on to the application interface.
- Of course, no security system is impenetrable and due to the inherent nature of the internet, we cannot guarantee that information, during transmission through the internet or stored on our servers, will be absolutely safe from unauthorised access by others.
The data made available through the AURIN Portal is commonly aggregated or anonymised such that it does not contain any personal information. For example, where datasets may have contained health information about identifiable individuals or fine-grained demographic information, AURIN has worked with data providers to aggregate, anonymise or withhold this information.
What are the benefits for data providers?
- The benefits of providing data to AURIN may include the following:
- AURIN can provide reciprocal access to datasets in the AURIN Portal for most data providers, allowing providers to carry out their own data analytics using the advanced mapping and spatial-statistical routines.
- AURIN will provide feedback on data delivery methods and data quality.
- AURIN can provide data usage statistics, which can help inform future data investment decisions.
- AURIN can provide you with case studies or stories from end users about how your data is being used.
- By providing data through AURIN, data providers may receive reduced volumes of individual data requests, as data is distributed directly to interested end users through a single data licence arrangement.
- AURIN can help enrich metadata to ensure datasets are usable and understandable by a wide audience.
- By providing data, you are supporting quality collaborative research as well as informing policy decisions across all levels of government.