Alter says lack of access to administrative data is "big drag on research"
"Researchers wrestle with a privacy problem" - Nature. 9/22/2015.
This piece explores the enormous potential of administrative data collected during routine service provision, which unlike other forms of big data, tend to have few self-selection effects. Analyses of administrative data could greatly improve evaluations of government programs. But access to these records is limited, largely out of concerns for anonymity and informed consent. George Alter says this has a huge impact on research. “Health systems, social-welfare systems, financial transactions, business records — those things are just not available in most cases because of privacy concerns,” says Alter. “This is a big drag on research.”