Updated 18 June 2012
The project hoped to meet the needs of a large and diverse group of stakeholders and as a step towards this is finding areas of shared understanding and common ground. The project aimed to do this by establishing a set of principles that were owned and agreed by the stakeholders. An initial set of principles were drafted, considered by the Steering Group on 11 January, published for comment on this website and reviewed in more detail at a Principles and Scenarios workshop on 17th February. A summary of comments on the original principles can be found on the reports and documents page. In response to the considerable and useful feedback provided, a revised set of principles were drafted as below. As requested by the steering group further sentence or two have been developed for each principle to clarify its purpose.
The landscape should be designed around a holistic and learner-centred view of higher education.
This principle seeks to establish a design philosophy that data is honed to the affected individual wherever practical. So for example an individual with a store of data might be connected one or more HE Providers rather than the individual being a subject member of one of more providers.
Data collection should relate specifically to the core activities of delivering higher education.
This principle emphasis the need to justify the holding, collection and maintenance of data through a clearly stated purpose or requirement.
The costs associated with collecting and maintaining the information should be proportionate to the benefits from having this information.
This principle establishes the concept of net value from data collection and requires some clear value proposition (not necessarily financial) to justify investment in gathering data.
HE Agencies should work together to apply consistent definitions and standards in order to streamline the amount of information collected.
This principle underlines the importance of collaboration amongst stakeholders to maximize the net value of any data collection and holding work.
Data used for regulatory purposes should be collected once and secure access to it be made available to those with a legitimate right to use the information.
This principle responds to the need to avoid duplication of effort so as to maximize efficiency, but also considers the importance of a trusted “single version of truth” universally acknowledged amongst stakeholders.
Data used for regulatory purposes should be managed in such a way as to ensure quality and consistency of the information, guarantee its provenance and limit the possibility for misleading use of the data.
This principle highlights the concern that datasets may decay after collection unless they are properly managed through their useful life.
The cycle of data collection should be timed so that data is accurate at the point of need.
This principle acknowledges that HE stakeholders typically have business cycles and that data collection timings and use must respect aspects of those cycles if they are to be valid.
Aggregated data should be openly available unless there is a compelling reason to restrict access.
This principle acknowledges that data which is not constrained by personal information restrictions should be freely available so far as that is reasonable.
Personal data should only be available to those with a legitimate need for the information.
This principle on the other hand acknowledges a strong obligation to keep personal data secure and deal with it responsibly and in compliance with legislation where appropriate.