Main glossary

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Data integrity

The maintenance and assurance of the accuracy and consistency of data over its entire life cycle. 

Data protection

All personal information is protected in the UK by the Data Protection Act (1998). This means that researchers have to put in all the necessary safeguards to protect the confidentiality of the information they collect about research participants. They should explain the patient information sheet:

  • how the participants' data will be collected
  • how it will be stored securely
  • what it will be used for
  • who will have access to the data that identifies participants
  • how long it will be kept
  • how it will be disposed of securely.

Data Protection Act

The Data Protection Act 2018 is the UK's implementation of EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), that controls how personal information is used by organisations.

De novo

Latin term for 'new'. De novo drug discovery is the traditional route of generating new treatments from novel (previously unknown) chemical entities with desired activity against a disease

Decision trees

A type of model that details a pathway of a disease as a set of potential outcomes, with different probabilities assigned to each of the outcomes.


Characterised by progressive deterioration and loss of function in the organs or tissues


A particular sector of the population. 


A disorder of structure of function in an organism


Dissemination involves communicating the findings of a research project to a wide range of people who might find it useful. This can be done through:

  • producing reports (often these are made available on the Internet)
  • publishing articles in journals or newsletters
  • issuing press releases
  • giving talks at conferences

It is important to feed back the findings of research to research participants.


A chemical substance which makes up the genes, and which contains the information needed for the body to work. 

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