Data access channels for scientific purposes - Access to Anonymised Microdata Sets
Microdata are data that contain information on observation units. Microdata in their original form allow the identification and the disclosure of information on observation units. Anonymised microdata are at the same time such microdata that have been modified by statistical disclosure control methods in accordance with current best practices in order to reduce to an acceptable level the disclosure risk of statistical units to which they are related. Datasets produced in this way cannot be associated with the data providers therefore, they can be released to researchers, given that adequate legal protection measures are in place.
Anonymised microdata sets are always released with accompanying methodological documentation, describing the methodology used during anonymization and their distortion effect on the dataset.
Who can use anonymised microdata sets?
Release of anonymised microdata sets is available only for scientific purposes for researchers with an institutional background. The HCSO will decide who is qualified as a researcher on the basis of the information provided on the data request form for access to anonymised microdata during the researcher accreditation procedure.
In case of research with no institutional background, the HCSO provides access to anonymised microdata, for scientific purposes, in its safe environment; in this case Safe Centre access, remote access and remote execution data access channels are available.
Datasets in the anonymised microdata-release domain
In the context of release of anonymised microdata sets all datasets managed by the HCSO can be requested. Following the receival of the data request, the HCSO fully examines if it can be fulfilled from professional point of view.
In case the requested anonymised microdata set is not available in the form and with the content as requested, the HCSO will charge for the production of the requested dataset.
Process of authorising the release of anonymised microdata
In order to approve the release of anonymised microdata for the given data request, the HCSO undertakes a researcher accreditation procedure and investigates the content of the request from professional and data protection point of view.
- Initiating the data access claim
Release of anonymised microdata sets can be requested by the completion of the data request form for access to anonymised microdata sets and its transmission to the HCSO via email@example.com. The HCSO will request the completion of the data request form if the request is not forwarded to the HCSO using the above linked standard form.
Data request form for access to anonymised microdata sets
- Assessment of the data access claim
Following the transmission of the data request form for access to anonymised microdata sets, the HCSO carries out researcher accreditation. Following the accreditation procedure the HCSO evaluates the data request if it can be fulfilled both from professional and data protection point of view. If additional consultation is necessary during the evaluation, the HCSO will contact the person who sent the data request.
- Signing the contract and the confidentiality commitment
Contract and confidentiality commitments are to be signed for data requests successfully approved after researcher accreditation and evaluation of the request form from professional and data protection point of view. The contract sets the rights and obligations of the entity requesting the dataset and the HCSO within the frame of the concerned research project. Sample of the standard templates for the contract and the confidentiality commitment are available here:
Sample of the contract
Sample of the confidentiality commitment
- Release of anonymised microdata sets
Following the signing of the contract and the confidentiality commitment by each party and after the payment of the fee – if any –, the HCSO releases the anonymised microdata sets to the researcher in accordance with the conditions specified in the contract.