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Open access to survey (micro)data

ADP provides support for inventory, documentation, archiving, and dissemination of existing microdata. The objective is to build sustainable capacity in the recipient agency to manage its microdata holdings efficiently. Proper management includes documentation, cataloging, preservation, and dissemination. ADP promotes the adoption of international standards and best practices.

ADP makes extensive use of standards adopted by many lead data centers worldwide and promoted by the IHSN, such as the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) and the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) for data documentation, the Open Archive Initiative (OAI) for data cataloging, and the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) for data preservation.

ADP fosters better use of data, and therefore promotes wider accessibility to data particularly for the research community. Within ADP, data producers keep full ownership of their data and decide on the most appropriate dissemination policy, in the framework of the national legislation. ADP support can be instrumental for:

  • Undertaking a full inventory of past surveys and censuses, and gathering all related data and metadata.
  • Documenting these surveys and censuses, in compliance with the DDI standard. ADP provides training and technical support by national or international experts, as well as the necessary software and hardware. Training and support is usually provided at the national level, to allow a larger number of national agencies and staff to participate. In exceptional circumstances only, such training is provided at the regional level. ADP also supports the assessment of the metadata prior to their dissemination.
  • Developing and publishing an on-line catalog of surveys, which will provide users with access to rich metadata as well as microdata. This is done by installing and customizing the IHSN National Data Archive (NADA) cataloging application on the agency website.
  • Disseminating microdata. NADA catalogs provide information on conditions and procedures for accessing the microdata, when relevant. Agencies disseminate microdata according to their own policies and procedures.
  • Building capacity in survey microdata anonymization and implementing international best practices of statistical disclosure control. ADP provides technical assistance to unlock datasets that are currently not disseminated due to legal and ethical constraints related to privacy protection, relying on guidelines produced by various partners including the IHSN.
  • Establishing national microdata dissemination policies. ADP can provide support to assist the data providers in designing and implementing formal microdata dissemination policies in countries where such policies are not available.