MCC established a Disclosure Review Board (DRB) in 2013 to ensure that data collected from surveys and other research activities is made public according to relevant laws and ethical standards that protect research participants, while recognizing the data’s potential value to the public.
The Vice President of the Department of Policy and Evaluation chairs the DRB, which is responsible for:
- Reviewing and approving procedures for the release of data products to the public;
- Reviewing and approving data files for disclosure, ensuring anonymization procedures adhere to legal and ethical standards for the protection of research participants; and
- Initiating and coordinating any necessary research related to disclosure risk potential in individual, household and enterprise-level survey micro data on MCC’s beneficiaries.
The DRB membership consists of representatives from each MCC department and draws on the expertise of two non-MCC advisory members. The advisory members have extensive experience in directing or serving on disclosure review boards and in analyzing the statistical, legal and ethical requirements for protecting research participants. They also serve on an ad hoc basis and are not voting members.
The Importance of a Disclosure Review Board
As part of a data-driven, evidence-based model for operations, MCC regularly funds surveys and other research activities that produce data products. Consistent with this model and its commitment to accountability, transparency and learning, MCC is publicly sharing data generated in the design, implementation and evaluation of its compacts and Threshold Programs to achieve two important goals:
- Transparency. To enable any stakeholder, researcher or agency to understand the source data and analysis behind MCC’s evaluations and investments.
- Policy research for the public good. To maximize the benefits of MCC’s investments in large-scale data collection efforts in developing countries, recognizing the potential for the public release of data generated through MCC projects and investments to catalyze a wide range of valuable, policy-relevant research.
Data collected in connection with MCC-funded surveys and other research activities may be of a sensitive nature and may therefore be obtained under terms of confidentiality. Recognizing that exposing this sensitive data may pose a risk to the individual or firm that provided the information, MCC seeks to conduct its collection, storage, transfer, analysis, disposal, and dissemination of data (collectively, Data Activities) in a manner that respects and protects the privacy of research participants, while satisfying program needs and MCC’s commitment to transparency.
- Thomas Kelly