Pacific Region: Microdata Dissemination Policy

A data dissemination policy workshop from June 1-3 was held in Suva, Fiji. The purpose of this workshop was to develop a consensus on a policy defining access to microdata.

In defining a comprehensive policy, issues such as calendar of release; time series data and media of dissemination should be discussed. This includes microdata access or access to individual record level data.

This workshop focused mainly on microdata dissemination. 

There are four main components that will require definition in approaching the definition of a policy:

Access Type: This defines the kind of data dissemination regime.

  • Public Use Files are microdata files available on-line for downloading and have been more heavily screened for statistical disclosure of the respondent.
  • Licenced File: These are microdata files which may have more information and require more in-depth review before releasing. These go through a greater process of deliberation
  • Data Enclave: Microdata are available in a secure location and cannot be taken off the premises.

Architecture:  The architecture assumes a web based dissemination platform

  • De-centralized: Each agency in the National Statistical System documents their own data and maintains their archive under their own data policy.
  • Hybrid: Each agency manages their own data (collection) and sets their own policy yet shares their metadata in a central archive.
  • Central Repository: Data and metadata are maintained in one archive. This could be an academic type archive or a national data archive. Agreements are made with individual depositors. 

Terms and Conditions of Access: This usually takes the form of an agreement.

  • Responsibilities of the user
  • Disclaimer
  • Cost Recovery
  • Citation requirements and publications

Class of User: Different users may have different levels of access and these can be defined.

  • Government Agency
  • University
  • Research Institution
  • International Organization

A coherent policy that addresses these issues and remains flexible and is periodically revised will empower agencies in a National Statistical System and countries in a region to integrate their data dissemination systems and inform researchers on relevant policy research. 

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