To support scientific research, the HCSO makes data files available to data requesters/researchers, but prior to this, a researcher accreditation is carried out.
During the researcher accreditation process, the HCSO assesses the compliance of the researcher's identity and, if there is one, the institutional background of the researcher with predefined and publicly published criteria.
Stages of researcher accreditation
In the researcher accreditation process, HCSO examines the researcher and, where applicable, the institutional background of the researcher requesting the data, as well as the scientific purpose of the research. The researcher accreditation assessment is based on the data request form submitted by the data requester and other documents to be submitted at the same time. If necessary, further consultations between the data requester and HCSO may take place in the framework of the researcher accreditation assessment. In this case, HCSO will contact the data requester.
Frequency of researcher accreditation
The HCSO will carry out a full researcher accreditation assessment following the receipt of data requests for scientific purposes. Accordingly, the requester must send a fully completed data request form to HCSO for all new research.
Criteria for accreditation of researchers
In accordance with its purpose, the research accreditation assessment is composed of the following two main parts and the following aspects:
1. Exmination of the researcher and, if there is one, the institutional background of the researcher
A researcher is a natural person who wishes to access statistical data for scientific research purposes, either or not in co-operation with an institution engaged in research; including students and pupils in public and tertiary education.
In relation to the person of the researcher, the HCSO - examine the following:
- researcher's career;
- in the case of research with a research institution background, the type of legal relationship between the researcher and the research institution;
- whether the researcher has fulfilled his/her obligation to send the copies of publication based on the research outputs to the HCSO within the 5 years preceding the date of submission of the data request;
- whether, during the 5 years preceding the date of submission of the data request, the researcher has violated the terms and conditions of the data release contract with the HCSO;
- whether the researcher has breached the HCSO's safe environment rules during the 5 years preceding the date of submission of the data request.
A research institution is a legal entity carrying out research activities, officially listed in its terms of reference, which can prove its research activities by means of official documents and has a contractual relationship with the researcher using the microdata files, for whose activities it assumes joint and several liability.
In relation to the background of the institution conducting the research, the HCSO examine the following:
- the legal status of the institution;
- the institution's main activity and other activities;
- the institution's organisational structure;
- the role of the research activity in the functioning of the institution (if the institution does not carry out research as a main activity);
- the main results of the institution in the research field in the 5 years preceding the date of submission of the data request;
- the rules and procedures of publication of research results of the institution;
- arrangements of financing the institution (and in particular for the research activity);
- in the case of anonymised micro-data releases, the institution's IT security and physical security operating rules;
- whether the institution has breached any of the terms of the data release contract with the HCSO during the 5 years preceding the date of submission of the application form;
- whether any of the institution's researchers have breached the HCSO's secure environment rules during the 5 years preceding the date of submission of the data request;
- in the case of access in a secure environment, whether the institution has sent 1 copy of any publications, works or studies based on the research output carried out in the 5 years preceding the date of submission of the data request to the HCSO.
2. Examination of the scientific purpose
- Whether the stated scientific aim is in the public interest and promotes scientific progress. The knowledge resulting from scientific research should serve the goals of the economy, society, the environment as a whole and not the commercial or profit-making goals of individual data requesters. Access to the data should not result in a unilateral competitive advantage for the data seeker or any other person on the basis of the knowledge gained.
- Disclosure of planned research results. In the context of scientific research, only research proposals whose results are publicly available to anybody should be accepted.
- Justification of why the research project cannot be carried out without a request for secure environmental access or anonymised micro-data release.