What’s the Answer? (data confidentiality)

BioStar is a site for asking, answering and discussing bioinformatics questions and issues. We are members of the community and find it very useful. Often questions and answers arise at BioStar that are germane to our readers (end users of genomics resources). Every Thursday we will be highlighting one of those items or discussions here in this thread. You can ask questions in this thread, or you can always join in at BioStar.

Ooops–almost forgot to post this today because I was working on a super exciting recording for next week’s tip! But there was an interesting discussion that emerged on BioStar yesterday that I wanted to highlight. I think it has broad ramifications for people dealing with the data from sequencing projects.

Question: bioinformatics cores: how to maintain confidentiality of data

It may appear to be little weird question but I guess this is the right platform I was just wondering working in a bioinformatics core how one is supposed to maintain the confidentiality of the data. It is easy that a user approach a bioinformatcian and bioinformatician, perform analysis, discuss project and deliver analysis to user- neat and clean. However when a colleague on the virtue of being senior in the core wants to have access to the data, what should be done? The said colleague has no idea about the project, not involved in discussion and has not analyzed data. The problem is the user has asked to maintain the confidentiality of data and sometime data is from patient samples. Now problem is should one just say not to senior colleague of core? just give away data; in that case if something happen at later stage will not the analyst be in trouble? I am sure several bioinformatican may have faced this situation. Any one would like to share their thoughts or guidance please?



I applaud Rob for questioning this, and for the Biostar members for bringing their knowledge and experience to the answers. I think it’s important and wise for everyone to think about those issues.