International Population Data Linkage Network


About the IPDLN

What is data linkage?

Secondary use of linked administrative data is often referred to as ‘data linkage,’ ‘record linkage,’ or ‘linked data.’  This is typically population based longitudinal data that has originally been collected for another purpose.  Linkage may take place across data sets in a single domain (i.e. health) or across domains (i.e. health, education, environment, early childhood, etc.) 

Why is it important?

Data linkage is an invaluable tool for population health research. It provides a completely unbiased picture of the entire population, is cost-effective relative to other data collection mechanisms, and enables studies to be done that could not otherwise be performed.

The Network role

The International Population Data Linkage Network (IPDLN) facilitates communication between centres that specialise in data linkage and users of the linked data. The producers and users alike are committed to the systematic application of data linkage to produce community benefit in the population and health-related domains.

Over 30 participants from Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand attended the 2008 inaugural meeting of the IPDLN (then known as the IHDLN), held in London, UK and hosted by the Research and Development Directorate of the National Health Service. The IPDLN now boasts over 1,000 members.

Every two years, directorship of the Network moves sites. Australia’s Population Health Research Network (PHRN) has taken on the directorship of the IPDLN for 2019-2020 and will work with South Australia Northern Territory DataLink (SA NT DataLink) to host the 2020 IPDLN Conference.

Read the Executive Committee bios (PDF)

Executive Committee 2019-20

  • Merran Smith – IPDLN Director (Australia), Committee Chair
  • Dennis Culhane – Member (USA)
  • William A. Ghali – immediate past co-Director (Canada)
  • Ruth Gilbert – Member (UK)
  • Kerina Jones – Member (UK)
  • Rachel Moorin – Member (Australia)
  • Rainer Schnell – Member (Germany)
  • Michael Schull – immediate past co-Director (Canada)

Read the Executive Committee Terms of Reference here.

The 2020 IPDLN Conference

Dr. Merran Smith, Chief Executive of the PHRN, is the IPDLN director for the 2019/2020 term. PHRN is working with South Australia Northern Territory DataLink (SA NT DataLink) to host the 2020 IPDLN Virtual Conference.