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From ABS:

There is a perception amongst some production areas within the ABS that the GSBPM does not cover the ‘entire statistical programme of work’, with its strong use of sample survey friendly wording.  One way of helping to avoid confusion, and to more visibly increase the perception of scope and coverage, might be to ensure terminology and descriptions throughout the model refer to both microdata and macrodata, or to 'data' more generally.  The terminology currently used is most limiting in the Collect and Process phases, where most references are made to collecting and processing micro level (e.g. unit record level) data.  Many areas (including the National Accountants) also collect and process a wide range of macro level data sources to deliver their statistical outputs (and there will be much more of this happening in the future).

From OECD Microdata Group:

Additional comments from the OECD EG on Microdata Access.

OECD Expert Group on Microdata Access aug 2013.docx

These may be updated in September.

See older version of comments here

Statistics Sweden:

The phases and the sub-processes should have names that are more consistent in structure than now. The verbs used currently do not have objects on the one-digit level, with the exception of process 1 (Specify needs).  On the two-digit level, the verbs come with objects, except for 5.2 (Classify and code), 5.3 (Review, validate and edit), 5.4 (Impute) and 6.3 (Scrutinize and explain). We suggest that micro-data is added as an object for 5.2, 5.3, and 5.4. For 6.3, we suggest that macro-data or outputs is added as an object.






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  1. The use of the terms "micro" and "macro" when referring to statistical data is confusing, as we also have seen in GSIM. The distinction depends on the viewpoint of the user of the data. Aggregated data as delivered by one party may be considered microdata by another. Usually, this also means a switch of object type.

    I support a switch to "statistical data", leaving the specialisations "micro" and "aggregated", "dimensional" or "macro" (whatever their true meaning) to niches.

    Whether or not this has any relationship with "sample survey" as opposed to for instance register data collection (or more recent developments as Big Data), I cannot really judge at this time, but intuitively to me it seems strange.

  2. I'm wondering if anyone has yet had a chance to look at the suggested wording changes in the document prepared by the OECD expert group on incorporating microdata access into the GSBPM. this of course not withstanding the points made here about the meaning of "micro" and "macro" as general concepts. I know there are a lot of items to look at in a very short period of time, but I wanted see if anyone had questions, comments or concerns about the ways that we propose incorporating data access in the GSBPM.

  3. microdata paper excerpt:

    6.4 Apply disclosure control

    This sub-process ensures that the data (and metadata) to be disseminated or outputs released to external researchers accessing microdata do not breach the appropriate rules on confidentiality. This may include checks for primary and secondary disclosure, as well as the application of data suppression or perturbation techniques.

    7.3 Manage release of dissemination products

    This sub-process ensures that all elements for the release are in place including managing the timing of the release. It includes briefings for specific groups such as the press or ministers, as well as the arrangements for any pre-release embargoes. It also includes the provision of products to subscribers as well as opening up and closing access (permissions) on the start and completion of projects requiring access to microdata by external researchers, and releasing researcher’s output that has been vetted for confidentiality.  Publication of the results of these microdata research projects, or providing reference to them is also a part of this sub-process.

    7.5 Manage user support

    This sub-process ensures that customer queries are recorded, and that responses are provided within agreed deadlines. Requests for microdata access require putting in place a contract and a confidentiality statement with the researcher.  These queries and microdata research requests should be regularly reviewed to provide an input to the over-arching quality management process, as they can indicate new or changing user needs.


  4.  ABS comments on the OECD Microdata group comments relating to 6.4, 7.3 and 7.5.

    We don't think the 6.4 addition is needed as microdata outputs are still 'data'. We disagree with the 7.3 comments as they can also apply to macrodata outputs (e.g. opening up of access to data).  Some of the comments could be added as long as they are generalised to apply to all outputs. Happy with the 7.5 comments.


    1. Hi Lynne:

      6.4 is there to make sure that once a system whereby researchers can access confidential microdata is in place, that any statistical outputs they produce are reviewed to be sure they are compliant with confidentiality rules established for the data. That is our practice at Statistics Canada. This review can be quite distant in time and continue long after the data collection program is long over. For example, our research data centres provide access to data which is no longer actively collected and the team responsible for it has long disbanded. The addition of text here I think simply serves as a reminder to do this continually so long as access is granted to the files and whenever output from those files is generated.


      As for your comments re 7.3, I'm not sure I entirely understand. if there are macrodata outputs that are deemed confidential and access is controlled, then I would agree, the text here applies equally to confidential macro outputs. The important thing being identified here is that the "product" being disseminated is confidential data and so part of managing dissemination is managing the access to that product.


      Thanks for your input!


  5. The OECD version from October 2013 should be used rather than the August 2013 one.