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Data access

Safe centres | Remote execution |
Scientific Use Files | Public Use Files | CAMPUS Files |
Combined ways of access | Non-scientific use of data

 

The Federal Statistical Office and the Statistical Offices of the federal states provide different ways of access to a selected range of official German microdata via the Research Data Centres. These ways of access are limited to institutions of higher education or other institutions entrusted with tasks of independent scientific research. Students that want to use official German microdata for project papers or diploma theses may also use all mentioned ways off access.

 

On-site use:

Off-site use:

 

The forms of access vary with respect to the level of anonymity of the usable data and the way they are provided.

Upon request, the data sets listed in the section data supply can be used via the Research Data Centres of the Federal Statistical Office and the Statistical Offices of the federal states. Requests for use can be made for scientific projects with a limited content and duration. The project duration is limited to three years. The use of microdata via the Research Data Centres is charged for. Further information on the terms of use can be found here.

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On-site use:

Safe centres

There are PC workplaces in all locations of both Research Data Centres. These can be used by domestic and foreign guest researchers to analyse de-facto anonymised microdata inside the safe premises of the statistical offices. De-facto anonymity is achieved not only by anonymising the data but also by combining this approach with controlled data access.

The PC workplaces are equipped with the common statistical programs (SPSS, SAS, partly Stata). The installation of additional software has to be considered in each individual case. A separate PC workplace with internet connection is available for e-mail communication and internet searches.

 

Remote execution

Remote execution is the only way of access that allows an analysis of formally anonymised data. However, the data user has no direct access to the data.

The users rather receive data structure files (dummy files) which resemble the original material with regard to structure and variable values. With the help of these dummy files, program codes can be prepared using the statistical programs SPSS, SAS or Stata. These program codes are applied by staff of the statistical offices to analyse the original data. The data users receive the results of that analysis after the relevant confidentiality checks.

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Off-site use:

Scientific Use Files (SUF)

Scientific Use Files (SUF) contain de-facto anonymised microdata that may be used outside the safe premises of the statistical offices. Due to legal restrictions, they may only be used by researchers who are employed by a research institution that is registered and located in Germany. Additionally, the use of Scientific Use Files may only take place in Germany.

Researchers from foreign institutions are asked to use remote execution or to work at the safe centres in the statistical offices.

 

Public Use Files (PUF)

Public Use Files (PUF) contain absolutely anonymised microdata and are available for the general public. Due to anonymisation, Public Use Files include only selected variables. As a rule, variables with a high degree of subject-related detail are aggregated. In most cases, detailed regional breakdowns cannot be made on the basis of Public Use Files.

 

CAMPUS Files

The Research Data Centres of the Federal Statistical Office and the Statistical Offices of the federal states have set themselves the goal of encouraging the use of official microdata in university teaching. They offer CAMPUS Files which are designed specifically for teaching. CAMPUS Files contain absolutely anonymised microdata sets which students can use to acquire methodological knowledge and gain first experiences in analysing official microdata.

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Combined ways of access

The above ways of access can also be combined. For example, it is often useful to combine work at a safe centre and remote execution. Especially for longer research projects, a combination like this is often reasonable. Using combined ways of access, extra costs occur.

 

Non-scientific use of data

Persons or institutions that are not part of the scientific community may be granted access to official German microdata via the respective enquiry service of the Federal Statistical Office and the Statistical Offices of the federal states. The contact information can be found here (German version).

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