SIMSAM supplement in Scandinavian Journal of Public Health: Practical and methodological issues in register-based research

Efforts of the SIMSAM network include to enhance the quality of register-based research and to support methodological developments. SIMSAM contributions to a dedicated supplement of Scandinavian Journal of Public Health (SJPH, volume 45, Issue 17, July 2017) is an important part of these endeavors. The SIMSAM SJPH supplement includes 11 papers, stemming from ongoing research activities within the SIMSAM network, and gives several examples of important practical aspects that researchers should consider when using Swedish and Nordic registers, as well as data quality, discussions of appropriate study designs and analytical strategies. The presented research is diverse and includes studies of immigrant populations, early-life determinants of childhood health and cardiovascular outcomes, as well as studies on effects of job training on return to the labor market and how social background affects educational choices among school children A review of both commonly used and more novel register-based study designs is presented, and further illustrated in several of the other papers in the supplement. Among analytical approaches, examples of quite different uses of propensity scores and related matching techniques are provided, reflecting the increased popularity of propensity scores in observational research in general as a strategy for control of confounding and selection effects.

Short, illustrative film “The benefits of using Nordic population registers for research purposes” developed by SINGS

Access the film by clicking on the image below.


There is a long tradition in the Nordic countries of maintaining well-established systems for health and other parts of the welfare state. Population-based registers for administrative purposes exist since decades. As data are already available, important research can be done in a cost- and time-effective manner, while maintaining personal privacy.

By using registers covering the entire populations or large parts of them, a unique and powerful resource for answering a multitude of research questions is provided. Data are combined by using the personal identification number, but this linkage is normally done by the authorities. The registers constitute a unique resource for research in order to provide better public health and welfare.

The Swedish Interdisciplinary Graduate School in register-based research (SINGS) is intended to develop knowledge, skills, and scientific and ethical approaches regarding how different sources of data and registers can and should be utilised in research, in preparation for a career within academia or elsewhere.

This is a short illustrative film on the topic.

Report suggesting new regulations on processing of personal data for research purposes

Committee members of a governmental inquiry (Forskningsdatautredningen) are authors of an interim report where they analyze what regulation of personal data processing for research purposes is possible and may be required given that the Data Protection Regulation (EU 2016/679) is to be applied from 25 May 2018, and submit the legislative proposals required.

Link to the report (SOU 2017:50)

”Forskardagen 2017 – konferensen för registerforskning”, 3 October in Stockholm (early bird registration fee before 25 June)

Forskardagen 2017 – a conference focusing on register-based research – will be held 3 October in Stockholm. One of the purposes of the conference is to spread information about how researchers can utilize register data and services from several different authorities.

The meeting is jointly organized by Statistics Sweden, the Swedish Research Council, the National Board of Health and Welfare, the Swedish National Archives, Försäkringskassan and Arbetsförmedlingen.

Link to information/program/registration

Registration deadline: 21 September 2017

Registration fees:

Before 25 June   SEK 995      

After 25 June      SEK 1195    

Seminar “Analysis of Genome, Exposome and Phenome data” by Prof. Xihong Lin (Harvard, US) at KI 29 May

Professor Xihong Lin (Departments of Biostatistics and Statistics, Harvard University, US) will give a seminar entitled "Analysis of Genome, Exposome and Phenome data" 29 May at 2 p.m. at Karolinska Institutet (in Lecture hall Petrén, Nobels väg 12B, Solna CampusCampus Solna).

Link to additional information about the topic and the speaker.

Seminar participants are welcome to mingle after the seminar!

15 May – new abstract submission deadline for NordicEpi 2017 13-15 Sept!

NordicEpi 2017, the 8th Nordic Meeting in Epidemiology and Register-Based Research, will have a broader scope than past NordicEpi meetings. Epidemiology is a research field which is very closely related to other scientific disciplines, both in terms of methodology and research questions, and NordicEpi 2017 will attempt to bridge existing gaps between these disciplines and encourage collaborative research. The meeting welcomes contributions from, and participation of, demographers, medical sociologists, health economists, and others who are performing register-based research with a focus on topics which can be broadly related to health and disease.

Abstract submission deadline: 15 May 2017

Early bird registration deadline: 30 June 2017

Link to conference web page (including registration page)

This 8th Nordic Meeting in Epidemiology and Register-Based Research, to be held in Lund 13-15 September 2017, is organized by SIMSAM Lund, part of the Swedish Initiative for research on Microdata in the Social And Medical sciences (SIMSAM), and the Swedish Epidemiological Association (SVEP).

Open house for researchers who order data from the National Board of Health and Welfare, 16 June in Stockholm

The National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen, SoS) is organizing an open house event for researchers who order data from SoS 16 June 2017 in Stockholm:

• meet administrators and ask questions
• learn more of how SoS is working with data orders and what is included in the evaluation
• receive tips regarding your order

There will be a short information session including tips on how to contribute to more efficient ordering and administration.

Representatives from Statistics Sweden (SCB) and the Swedish Research Council (VR) will also be present.

Link to registration (via "Öppet hus för forskare")

Date: 16 June 2017
Time: 9-12 a.m.
Venue: Socialstyrelsen, Rålambsvägen 3, Stockholm


“Significance Testing is the Reason that Scientific Results have Poor Reproducibility” – Plenary talk by Timothy Lash at KI 11 May

A plenary talk entitled “Significance Testing is the Reason that Scientific Results have Poor Reproducibility” will be held by Professor Timothy L. Lash, DSc, MPH, Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Editor-in-Chief Epidemiology

Date/time: May 11, 2017 14:00 to 15:00. Networking, coffee and tea served after the talk.
Venue: Lecture Hall Andreas Vesalius-Bertil, Berzelius väg 3, Campus Solna

Link to additional information

Host: Anita Berglund, Assistant Professor, Institute of Environmental Medicine, KI

The plenary talk is organized with financial support from the Strategic Research Program in Epidemiology (SFO Epi) at Karolinska Institutet, the Doctoral Program in Epidemiology at Karolinska Institutet and SINGS (the Swedish Interdisciplinary Graduate School in Register-based Research within SIMSAM).

SUNDEM workshop “New Developments in Register-based Education Research” 20 April in Stockholm

Workshop: New Developments in Register-based Education Research

Date: Thursday April 20, 2017

Room: B800, Södra husen, Stockholm University     Time: 13:00 – 17:00


13:00 – 13:05 — Welcome and introduction by Gunnar Andersson and Margarita Chudnovskaya (SUNDEM)

13:05 – 14:10 — Session 1: Educational Outcomes

"Parental separation and school grades in Sweden: Causal effects using instrumental variables"
Michael Grätz and Juho Härkönen

"Peer effects and educational decisions"
Erik Rosenqvist

"Under the influence of our older brother and sister: The association between sibling gender configuration and STEM degrees"
Roujman Shahbazian

"Gender differences in cognitive profiles and educational outcomes"
Serhiy Dekhtyar and Agneta Herlitz

14:10 – 14:30 —  Fika

14:30 – 15:30 — Session 2: Educational Reform

"Swedish school reforms and life-long cognitive ability and dementia"
Dominika Seblova

"School choice reform and educational ambitions – The unintentional emergence of an elite culture"
Magnus Bygren and Erik Rosenqvist

"Tertiary distance online education and the transition to parenthood during enrolment"
Linus Andersson

"Educational contraction in Finland"
Juho Härkonen and Outi Sirniö

15:30 – 16:00 — Fika

16:00 – 17:00 — Session 3: Education and Demographic Outcomes

"An assessment of educational misclassification in register-based data on Finnish immigrants in Sweden"
Rosa Weber

”Fertility and tertiary education in Sweden”
Vitor Miranda and Sofie Froby

"Education, gender, and cohort fertility in the Nordic countries"
Gerda Neyer with Marika Jalovaara and Gunnar Andersson et al.

"Childlessness among the highly educated in Sweden"
Margarita Chudnovskaya

Research conference of the Swedish National Quality Registries 23 May – registration deadline 18 April

The research conference of the Swedish National Quality Registries 23 May 2017 will be held at Hotel Radisson Blu Arlandia. At the meeting the future of register-based research will be discussed with several interesting lecturers, practical examples of methods in quality registry research, new methods, health economics and collaboration (Nordic, internationally and with Life Science companies).

Registration fee: SEK 500 (excluding VAT)

Link to additional information and registration

Registration deadline 18 April, 2017

The conference is co-organised with the Swedish Pharmaceutical Society and the Swedish Research Council.