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DM: Research based on restricted-access data.

From: Richard Dybowski
Date: Wed Nov 17 21:20:45 1999

Most of the research done by the DM community involves real-world databases, but there is a problem for researchers involved with restricted-access data.

Suppose that the owner of a database (not me) has invested a large amount of money to build it, and s/he, therefore, wants to maintain control of how the database is used. In particular, s/he does not want the world to have unrestricted access to it. This creates a problem for me, for if I publish a paper based on this database, and am asked by people in the research community for copies of the database in order for them to verify my published results, I will have to refuse. But this refusal would place me in a very embarrassing position, and it could considerably reduce the value of my research.

This is not a hypothetical scenario. I have been presented with the opportunity to analyze such a database; therefore, I would welcome any suggestions from those who have been confronted with a similar situation.

Richard Dybowski PhD
Research Fellow (Knowledge & Data Engineering)
King's College London
Medical Informatics Laboratory (Department of Medicine)
4th Floor
North Wing
St Thomas' Hospital
Lambeth Palace Road
London SE1 7EH

Tel (office): (0)20 7928 9292 extension 6429
Tel (mobile): 0976 250092
Fax: +44 (0)20 7928 4458
Web site:

{Note: Currently using e-mail address 
whilst link to 
Internet is being established in my new office at St Thomas' 

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