PAEA Data Request and Sharing Policies

Date Request

Background

The Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA or the Association) serves as the primary source of data and research on PA education. PAEA is the owner and custodian of aggregated data collected from its members, which includes data from the following sources: institution, faculty and staff, applicants to programs, students, and graduates. Every year reports and data files are produced by the Research Department with the assistance of the PAEA Public Affairs Department. Data files are made available to members and other researchers for secondary analysis. PAEA will not honor requests from students (graduate or undergraduate).  However, the student’s faculty advisor may initiate a request. The Association seeks to maintain an appropriate balance between allowing data access to authorized individuals and minimizing exposure to risks such as accidental loss or damage, unauthorized access, malicious misuse, and inadvertent alteration or disclosure. The PAEA research staff will also be guided in its decisions for dissemination of data by the terms of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) protocols and approvals.

Guiding Principles

The following principles guide the dissemination of data and reports:

  • PAEA and the profession benefit from wide dissemination of educational research, aggregated program data, and aggregated data on faculty, applicants, students, and graduates.
  • Participation in PAEA surveys, compliance with additional requests for data and information, and membership entitle institutional and individual members in good standing access to reports and basic data.
  • Individual survey participant data must remain secure and not be distributed to individuals beyond the PAEA research team or to those entrusted with the data, such as PAEA authorized contractors.
  • To protect sensitive information, such as faculty salaries and some demographics, data will only be reported if the aggregate data (i.e., the “n”) exceeds four values. PAEA reserves the right to restrict access to certain fields that have the potential to associate sensitive data with an individual or institution.
  • PAEA will not release any data until PAEA publishes its data summaries and other reports.

Types of data

  • Unrestricted data are easily or generally available through web sites, reports, publications, or other means of public access. These data are already aggregated into reports and individual responses and are not identifiable. Faculty and Program Directory information is considered non-restricted and includes the name of the individual, email address, mailing address, phone number, position title (e.g., program director), and institutional affiliation. Directory information is not protected unless an individual specifically makes a written request to PAEA. Directory information may be restricted by PAEA for certain uses including, but not limited to, marketing and personal research projects not approved through the processes described below.
  • Restricted data are data that are not published or generally available for general consumption but are owned by the Association. Restricted data files can only be released by the PAEA Research Department with oversight by the Research Council and direction from the Board of Directors. Released restricted data will not include program or individual identification. Only variables needed for the research will be released. The Research Department staff will work with the requester to provide data files that are likely to meet the research objectives while protecting the identity of individual institutions and members.
  • Confidential data contains identifiable individual or program information beyond directory information and cannot be released without specific permission from the PAEA Research Department. Normally, these data will not be released without a compelling rationale for the need for confidential information and approval from the investigator’s institution’s IRB. To protect the integrity and confidentiality of the data sources, requests will be examined closely by Research Department staff to determine if it is appropriate to release the data. If released, this data cannot be published, reported, or disseminated in any manner that could potentially serve to identify individuals or programs.

Policies regarding data requests and sharing

  • Requests for PAEA research assistance may come in several forms:
    • Custom reports or custom data extraction (see below)
    • Member contact/directory information (see below)
    • Association (Councils, Committees, Board of Directors, Staff, etc.) needs for Research Department assistance with data collection, analysis, reporting, and/or other research needs
    • Collaborating agencies or organizations (e.g., AAMC, NCCPA, or AAPA) may request to partner with PAEA for data collection or reporting purposes.
    • Health professions and other disciplines researchers
  • The regular and periodic reports produced by the Association will be disseminated free of charge as a membership benefit only to members who participate in the surveys. A nominal fee may be charged to non-members and to non-participating members.
  • Members and non-members may request customized reports (e.g., average program director salaries for programs in a specific state or region) from the Research Department by submitting a research report request. If workload permits, the staff will work with the requester to fulfill the request. Currently, member cost is calculated at a rate of $50.00 per hour for staff time that exceeds one hour per calendar year.  The one hour fee waiver do not apply to requests for students, including PA students.  Non-members are charged $100.00 per hour with no waiver of first hour. Members must have completed the survey section(s) for which they are requesting data. For example, if requesting a custom tuition information report, that program must have provided tuition data for the survey.
  • Customized, research-related data file requests (e.g., requesting a subset of variables from the 2013 Program Survey) from members will be reviewed. Requests for data will be considered upon the likelihood of the research question and proposed methodology to contribute to the advancement of the Association or knowledge about the profession. The researcher must agree to data use and restriction terms, in addition to receiving IRB approval. PAEA will forward data files that are password protected to assure the security of the data.  The researcher must acknowledge PAEA in any publication or presentation that results from the data provided by PAEA. Data requests that will likely advance the research goals of PAEA and/or are in line with the PAEA Strategic Plan will be given higher priority. Fees for data file requests are the same as identified above.
  • Generally, PAEA does not honor requests for directory information to be used for the purpose of distributing surveys or otherwise carrying out research projects (e.g., names, addresses, emails, role in program). These requests will only be approved in conjunction with a formal written request and will be contingent upon approval of the research request and IRB approval.
    Alternatively, members may:

    • 1) request that PAEA distribute surveys in order to protect the email and other identifying information or
    • 2) apply to participate in the STAR Program.
  • User(s) will be required to sign an agreement specifying that the member information will only be used for the approved research project and that the member information will be destroyed upon completion of the project/publication of results. Individuals requesting data must provide assurances of appropriate security steps to limit access and protect data from unauthorized use or accidental loss. Any security breach must be reported immediately to the PAEA Research Department staff.
  • User(s) are required to complete a brief follow-up survey so that PAEA can track outcomes of the data request program. A link to the survey will be sent to user(s) six months after the request is closed.

Intellectual Property

Physician Assistant Education Association reports and publications are produced in various formats including, but not limited to, print media, web documents, and electronic media (e.g., PDFs). These are considered the intellectual property of the Association and should be cited accordingly.

Vendors/Contractors

The Association may elect to use qualified vendors/contractors to assist with data “clean-up,” analysis, and/or generation of reports. Data provided to vendors may include restricted or confidential information. Vendors must assure PAEA that they have adequate data security processes/systems in place to only allow access to authorized users associated with the assigned project. Any security breaches must be immediately reported to PAEA. All vendors and contractors are required to sign PAEA’s Confidentiality, Academic Integrity, and Non-Disclosure Agreement.

Request Forms

PAEA welcomes all requests for raw data and research reports.


 List of Appendices

  • Appendix A – Process for Review of Data Requests
  • Appendix B – Process for Review of Research Reports
  • Appendix C – Confidentiality, Academic Integrity, and Non-Disclosure Agreement.
    Approved PAEA Research Council: 08/21/2015

Appendix A: Process for Review of Data Requests

Step One:

  • Request data files by completing request form(s) through the PAEA portal: Raw Data Request Form.
  • The following information must be provided in the online portal to allow reviewers to determine the potential benefit to the PA profession in relation to the potential burden on the Research Department staff or members. In addition, the reviewers will determine if the given methodology will likely address the research question/purpose. Request(s) must describe what data are requested and how these data will be used.

The following fields must be completed through the portal:

  1. Person requesting data/PI and any other co-PIs or assistants that will have access to the data
  2. Contact information of PI and co-PIs (if applicable)
  3. Affiliation with PAEA
  4. Affiliated institution/organization
  5. Immediate supervisor and contact information (i.e., email, phone number). In the case of a thesis or dissertation, provide advisor’s name and contact information.
  6. Purpose of the study/request (i.e., purpose, research questions, problem statement, and objectives)
  7. Brief review of literature
  8. Details about data needed (source, year, variables, type of file, etc.)
  9. Methodology (study design, sampling techniques, planned data analyses, etc.)
  10. Planned method(s) of disseminating findings
  11. Name and contact information of IRB, IRB status, and IRB number (if approved)*
  12. Date data file requested

*Important note: Requests for raw data will be reviewed but not filled until proof of IRB approval or exemption is received. IRB approval is not required for data requests to be used for non-scholarly, internal use (e.g., for benchmarking).

Step Two:

  • Data requests initially will be reviewed by the PAEA Research Department staff to determine eligibility (e.g., member status) and that all required elements have been included. Data requests for members will only be honored if the PA program is in good standing, meaning dues are up to date and program has completed the most recent Program and Curriculum Surveys. For non-member requests, a conference call is required to discuss how the data will be used and intellectual property issues.

Step Three:

  • After the initial review is complete, data requests will undergo a full review by the Research Department. Review of requests will have one of three conclusions: approved, approved with revisions, or not approved. Criteria to be used by the reviewers includes:
    • Does the research as proposed have the potential to advance knowledge of PA education and/or the profession; and
    • Did the principal investigator(s) include all of the required elements (1-12 above)?
  • If the principal investigator and staff are unable to reach agreement on requested revisions, the request will be forwarded to the Research Council chair who will make the final decision. If the Research Council chair is needed as a reviewer, the Research Department will assign an identification number and strip identifying information from the request to ensure a blinded review. If the request is not approved, the investigator may appeal to the PAEA Board of Directors. If the request is approved, staff communicates approval to investigator with an estimate of the cost. Currently, member cost is calculated at a rate of $50.00 per hour for staff time that exceeds one hour. Non-members are charged $100.00 per hour with no waiver of first hour. Non-members are required to pay half of the estimated cost prior to the release of data and the remainder within 30 days of delivery. Members are required to pay 100% of the cost within 30 days of delivery.
  • The Confidentiality, Academic Integrity, and Non-Disclosure Agreement must be completed by the investigator before PAEA Research Staff fill the data request.
  • Six months after the request is closed, the Research Department will send the user(s) a link to a brief follow-up survey. This survey allows PAEA to track the outcomes of the data request program and improve its services. All users are required to complete this survey.

Appendix B: Process for Review of Research Reports

Step One:

  • Request data reports by completing request form(s) through the PAEA portal: Research Report Request Form
  • The following information must be provided in the online portal to allow reviewers to determine the potential benefit to the PA profession in relation to the potential burden on the Research Department staff or members. Through the PAEA portal, request(s) must describe what data are requested in the report.

The following fields must be completed through the portal:

  1. Name and contact information of person requesting research report and anyone else who will use the research report (if applicable)
  2. Affiliation with PAEA
  3. Affiliated institution/organization
  4. Immediate supervisor and contact information (i.e., email, phone number). In the case of a thesis or dissertation, provide advisor’s name and contact information.
  5. Purpose and intended use of research report request (e.g., research project, benchmarking)
  6. Details about data needed (source, year, variables, format of results, etc.)
  7. Date research report requested

Step Two:

  • Report requests initially will be reviewed by the PAEA Research Department staff to determine eligibility (e.g., member status) and that all required elements have been included. Report requests for members will only be honored if the PA program is in good standing, meaning dues are up to date and program has completed the most recent Program and Curriculum Surveys. For non-member requests, a conference call is required to discuss how the data will be used and intellectual property issues.

Step Three:

  • After the initial review is complete, research report requests will undergo a full review by the Research Department. Review of requests will have one of three conclusions: approved, approved with revisions, or not approved. If unable to provide as requested, the Research staff will contact the requester to determine if there is a desire to amend the request. If the request is approved, staff will communicate approval to requester with an estimate of the cost. Currently, member cost is calculated at a rate of $50.00 per hour for staff time that exceeds one hour. Non-members are charged $100.00 per hour with no waiver of first hour. Non-members are required to pay half of the estimated cost prior to the release of the research report and the remainder within 30 days of delivery. Members are required to pay 100% of the cost within 30 days of delivery. The final product will be delivered via email, typically in a PDF format.
  • Six months after the request is closed, the Research Department will send the user(s) a link to a brief follow-up survey. This survey allows PAEA to track the outcomes of the data request program and improve its services. All users are required to complete this survey.