Urban Health Data – Guidelines and Recommendations (Deliverable 8.1)

Ortigoza, Ana

This report provides a summary of actions and findings of the Urban Health Mapping and Assessment (Task 8.1) for WorldFAIR Work Package 08. Firstly, we assessed the implementation of FAIR principles within the Urban Health field, through two case studies: 1) the elaboration of a web data platform for the SALURBAL project (Urban Health in Latin America); and 2) the elaboration of a FAIR Implementation Profile (FIP) for the Urban Health discipline in general.  Secondly, we focused on the data collection and harmonisation process of health survey data that was led by the SALURBAL team and allowed the elaboration of consensus on terminologies and procedures that facilitates the use of survey health data in cities for research and action.

The FAIR Implementation Profile for the SALURBAL case study contributed to the renovation process that the data system was undergoing, offering valuable guidance on good practices currently possible for making data FAIR. The elaboration and documentation of standard procedures used in data and metadata identification for the SALURBAL web platform not only contributed to their findability (‘F’) but also the access and reuse of the data (‘A’, ‘R’).   For the Urban Health discipline, the FAIR Implementation Profile shed light on the lack of a common repository for urban health data, and showed that most urban health data should be encoded following DDI standards.  It also showed the inconsistent process of identifying data and metadata used in urban health. Lessons learned during the process support recommendations towards 1. the promotion of a deeper understanding of the FAIR principles among urban health researchers and practitioners; and 2. the systematisation of a data management plan during the design and initial steps of a research project that can guide the implementation of FAIR principles across different domains and working groups. The results of the SALURBAL (WorldFAIR WP08) FIP were used to create a web resource (A FAIR Primer) which contextualises the activity, provides information about the FAIR principles, relays some of the FIP’s findings and provides guidance for making SALURBAL data more FAIR.  This resource is included here as Appendix A.

Regarding health survey data, we found challenges in the harmonisation process that may be difficult for the use and interoperability of data between countries and within countries across time such as 1. disagreement in the definition of risk factors; 2. lack of consistency in categories or measurement units used for an indicator; 3. discrepancy in scales and questionnaires used for retrieving information about similar health behaviours or health outcomes. We leveraged the SALURBAL experience during this harmonisation process to propose a guideline for future harmonisation in health survey data in which the main recommendations are focused on the need to 1. generate consensus on definition and measurements in health data; and 2. revisit questionnaires and scales commonly used for some health behaviours and establish commitment on common uses.

The development of these deliverables for Task 8.1 made visible the gaps and needs of FAIR implementation in the urban health research community. Consequently, we will design and develop dissemination and training materials that can support and guide research and practitioners

The report is available on Zenodo.

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