global research community. The development of open access arrangements for data from cohort studies is an important step in maximising their impact with respect to scientific publications, policy making, and understanding of health and disease. Examples of resources whose impact has been enhanced in this way include the UK 1958 birth cohort study [13] and the Australian 45 and Up cohort study [14]. UK Biobank aims to encourage and provide as wide access as possible to its data and samples for healthrelated research in the public interest by all bona fide researchers from the academic, charity, public, and commercial sectors, both in the UK and internationally, without preferential or exclusive access for any user. UK Biobank’s publicly available Data Showcase (http://www.ukbiobank.ac.uk/) presents the univariate distributions and methods used for collection of all the contact are subject to a more rigorous process of scrutiny and scientific review. Following initial assessment by the executive team, all applications are assessed and either approved or rejected (with right of appeal) by an independent Access Subcommittee. Advice is sought on any applications raising potential ethical issues from both the University of Oxford’s Ethox Centre and the Ethics and Governance Council. Only de-identified data are provided to researchers, who must sign a material transfer agreement, undertaking not to attempt to identify any participant, to keep the data secure, and to use it only for the purposes of the approved research. Researchers must also undertake to publish their results and to return details of their methods, derived data, and/or sample assay results for incorporation into the UK Biobank dataset so that they can be made available to other approved researchers (see variables available for health-related research, enabling potential research users to explore what data are available and plan research applications. An online access process, launched in April 2012, aims to be fair, transparent, and streamlined. Applications for data only are approved so long as the proposed research is in the public interest and the data required are, or will become, available. Applications involving the use of depletable samples or requiring participant rePage 24 of 56 www.investinme.org www.ukbiobank.ac.uk/scientists/ for details). UK Biobank encourages, but does not mandate, publication of results of research based on the resource in open access journals. Ensuring that the resource and its access arrangements are widely communicated is Invest in ME research (Charity Nr. 1153730)

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