eCRUSADers: one year on

I still can’t quite believe that it has been one year to the day since I launched the eCRUSADers website with the first Welcome post.!

For those of you who don’t know, before launching the platform, I had been contemplating the idea of eCRUSADers for some time whilst reflecting the challenges I faced when attempting to carry out my PhD research using administrative data. I’d also had many conversations with other researchers who seemed to be in the same boat. When I started my new post-doc position in Edinburgh, I jumped straight into the ‘waiting for data’ pool again. It was really this that spurred me on to finally set up something tangible. It would be a place for other researchers to go to learn from the experiences of others and to find out useful nuggets of information.

A huge amount has happened since then and little did I know back in February that the impending pandemic would shine such a bright light on the use of administrative data for research purposes. In the last six months, countless COVID-19 studies using administrative health data have emerged, hopefully paving the way for the continued use of this data to generate public benefit.

What has been achieved?

  • 4 Researcher Experience posts
  • 3 People Make Data posts
  • 3 Other posts
  • 2 Reflections on courses/training/conferences
  • 44 subscribers
  • Approximately 2,400 page views
  • £1,000 funding from the Welcome Trust Institutional translational partnership award (iTPA) Hub to set up an eCRUSADers working group.
  • Invited to give a presentation to the Electronic Data Research and Innovation Service (eDRIS) at their Development Day and have an ongoing dialogue with them about eCRUSADers.
  • Statement of support from the Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research (SCADR) and Chief Statistician Roger Halliday.

Since the platform was launched in November 2019, I’ve published a combination of Researcher Experience posts, People Make Data posts, reflections from courses and conferences and other bits and pieces. It hasn’t always been easy to squeeze in time for eCRUSADers alongside my role within the Edinburgh Health Economics group but I have done my best to spread the word and get researchers from around Scotland to contribute. This could easily be a full time job! Overall, I am pleased with the progress to date and have thoroughly enjoyed progressing a platform that I believe will be so useful for future early career researchers.

What happened that I didn’t expect?

Aside from COVID-19, when I set up eCRUSADers I hadn’t planned the People Make Data series. The idea for the series came about as I started trying to paint a picture of the administrative data landscape in Scotland and naturally that involved including patients and the public in that picture. That process helped me reflect on my own practice as a researcher and recognise the invaluable contribution that patients and the public have in shaping research. I think eCRUSADers provides a great place to share that message and point researchers towards useful information and resources regarding public and patient involvement.

What is still to do?

My ambitions for eCRUSADers are big and I have lots of ideas in the pipeline for expanding the information that is contained within the platform! I plan to keep chipping away at this and look forward to what next year will bring.

I still have to use the funds from the iTPA Hub. I had planned to arrange a number of face to face meetings and an event to formalise an eCRUSADers working group but COVID-19 has unfortunately put that on hold. But watch this space!

Finally, I’m always looking to expand the number of Researcher Experience posts so if you are a researcher working with Scottish Administrative data then please do get in touch (Elizabeth.lemmon@ed.ac.uk).

Thank you!

I just wanted to say a huge thank you to all of the contributors to the blog through the last year and thank you to everyone who has shared, subscribed and followed the work eCRUSADers. Here’s to another year and to the future sharing of information and experiences about carrying out research using Scottish administrative data!

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