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Data archiving and dissemination

Survey and census microdata are valuable resources for government departments and academic researchers. They constitute valuable and irreplaceable assets and should be managed in a way that encourages their widest possible use and re-use. At the same time, protecting the privacy of survey respondents is a paramount concern of data collectors. Robust procedures are necessary to reassure stakeholders that microdata will be disseminated and used in an optimum manner for the benefit of users and everyone in society, now and in the future. Establishing and implementing such procedures require expertise and resources. It is therefore recommended that national or international microdata archives be established to:

  • Promote the acquisition, documentation, dissemination, and preservation of microdata essential for the production of national statistics and research, for instruction in the social sciences
  • Promote the effective use of existing survey and census data
  • Ensure the continued viability and usability of microdata now and in the future
  • Provide equitable access to these data within the framework of the national legislation in the interest of all citizens by protecting confidentiality and following international recommendations and best practices

This section provides guidance and best practices related to roles of a data archive:

It also describes the institutional arrangements and the technical requirements for operating such a service.