Data sharing

We are committed to maximizing the use of our datasets to advance scientific knowledge.

We welcome proposals for research projects from a wide area of sciences, ranging from humanistic to natural sciences. We will accept applications from researchers who are committed to the following criteria:

  • The projects have to be high quality, ethical projects for research purposes using rigorous scientific methods. There must be an intention to publish the research findings for wider scientific and eventual public benefit, without restrictions and with minimal delay.
  • The researcher should have a formal relationship with an established academic institution, research body or organization with the capability to lead or participate in high quality, ethical research.

The Psychosocial Factors and Health Research Group works in a multi-disciplinary context. We use datasets that have multiple Principal Investigators at Finnish universities and institutions, and thus we are able to share limited parts of these datasets. Requests regarding psychosocial variables in the following datasets can be made via our website.

How to apply for data?

We follow a controlled access model for sharing. For acquiring data, it is recommended that the prospective data user first contacts the Principal Investigators Professor Marko Elovainio ( or Adjunct Professor Laura Pulkki-Råback ( to informally discuss the feasibility of the proposed project.

Researchers should apply for projects aimed at the publication of scientific articles. A new application should be made for each article. It is expected that the article is published within 2 year from acquiring the data. Extensions to the project will be granted contingent on success of the project. The applicant should be the main investigator of the project (for PhD students, the applicant is the supervisor or the project leader). The application requires the submission of two documents:

  • Data Sharing Application Form, please clearly indicate the name of the dataset. The Application Form may be requested from the PIs. The description of the project, analysis and publication of data must be as specific and focused as possible. The Application Form must contain a timetable for conducting the project.
  • List of variables names needed for the project. The variables requested must be consistent with the project proposal. The applicant should prepare a STATA file with a list of the variables names, in lower-case letters (keep variable 1 variable2…). A dictionary with the list of variable names is available on request from the Principal Investigators.

A team of Principal Investigators meets monthly to evaluate all applications received. A member of the team will be selected as the Contact Researcher for each project. The Contact Researcher will inform the applicant of the decision and will be the point of contact for the duration of the project. Upon approval of an application, applicants will be asked to sign the Data Sharing Agreement. Approval for data use is subject to the applicant signing and returning the agreement.

Please note the following terms

If the data user applies for funding once the application has been approved, and the grant application is based on our data, they must inform the Contact Researcher before making the funding proposal. For applying funding based on the datasets, the researchers should submit a new application for each funding source or call. This also applies to projects that have been previously approved by the team. For instance, permission to apply from the Academy of Finland in 2016 is not anymore valid in 2017. It will require a new application. Further use of the data outside those specifically stated in the application form will require a new application being submitted and approval by the team of Principal Investigators.

Major changes to the project will require a new data sharing application.


The database does not contain any individual identifiers such as names, addresses, telephone numbers, complete dates of birth and the like. Participants are identified using an anonymised ID. The purpose is to avoid linkages that could potentially result in the identification of individuals. Despite these preparations to protect confidentiality, it will be the responsibility of data users to ensure that no participant’s identity is disclosed under any circumstances. The applicant must be devoted to national and European Union’s laws and regulations regarding data management.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
  • Who can apply for data? The data are available as a resource for applicants with an established scientific record (in relation to career stage), who must conduct high quality, ethical research. The main applicant must be the principal investigator of the research project. For PhD students, the applicant is the leader of the project.
  • Why do I really need to fill in an application form, even if I am a close collaborator? Our data sharing model ensures that the reputations of the funding bodies, the study participants and the research team are not compromised in any way. The data sharing model prevents duplication reporting of results, overlapping projects and overlapping funding applications.
  • What do I need to do to apply for data? You need to fill in the Data Sharing Application Form and prepare a List of the variables names. Once your application is approved, you will need to send the signed Data Sharing Agreement. A scanned copy via email will be sufficient.
  • I am a PhD student, can I apply for data? Yes, but the main applicant should be the Principal Investigator or the PhD supervisor. This guarantees sufficient supervision of work, as we are not able to supervise all studies.
  • How long does it take to receive the data? It depends on when the application is received. The PI team meets once a month to discuss the data sharing applications. An application received just a few days before the meeting will only be discussed at the meeting one month later. We will aim to respond as soon as possible after the decision.
  • Who should I contact if I have any queries? You will be designated Contact Researcher who will be your point of contact for the duration of the project. If possible, s/he will be the preferred Contact Researcher named on the application form.
  • Could my project be turned down? The main reasons why the PI team could request re-submission of a data sharing application are: a) concerns that the project is unclear or vague, b) concerns that the applicants might not have qualifications be academic researchers with an established scientific record, c) concerns that the project could damage the wellbeing or reputation of the participants, d) concerns that the scope of the project largely exceeds the recommended scope of one year, e) the project proposal heavily overlaps with on-going funded projects.
  • Can I request extra variables? We recognize that further variable requests might be necessary once the preliminary analysis of data has started. For these extra requests, please contact the Contact Researcher. Major changes in exposures and/or outcomes will require a new application.
  • Who is responsible for the studies? It is always responsibility of the data user to conduct ethical, high-quality research. The data user (or in case of PhD students the supervisor) acts as guarantor of the study. We will not take responsibility of individual studies.