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Terms of use


The Research Data Centres (RDCs) of the federal statistical office and the statistical offices of the federal states enable scientific institutions to use official German microdata for their research projects. The scientific institutions need to apply for the access to microdata.

The use of the data is based on section 16 (6) and section 3a (2) of the Federal Statistics Act (BStatG) and is bound to the following conditions:

The use of official microdata is:


Use is bound to a specific user or group of users

Scientific facilities assigned with independent scientific research are eligible for use. These are universities and scientific institutions. If a scientific facility submits an application for access to microdata for the first time, the eligibility for use will be legally assessed. The assessment may take two to four weeks.
The data may only be used by persons who belong to the eligible facility, meaning they are enrolled in the institution, their thesis or dissertation is supervised by the institution, they are employees of the institution or have a guest researcherís status. In addition, it is necessary that users are committed to statistical confidentiality in accordance with section 16 (7) of the Federal Statistics Act (BStatG). This commitment can be carried out in any statistical office.


Use is bound to a specific purpose

The use is restricted to scientific projects only. These may be, for example, qualification works like master or doctoral theses, but also third party funded research projects, projects funded with own resources or research projects on behalf of ministries. A separate application form must be submitted for every research project. However, several publications may originate from one applied project.

In publications, the used official microdata is to be cited as follows:

In addition, it is necessary to make at least one (printed or electronic) copy of the publication available to the Research Data Centres of the Federal Statistical Office and the Statistical Offices of the federal states.


Use is temporary

All requested data sets can be used for a period of three years. There is a possibility of lengthening the period for another three years (liable for costs). The use of the data for research projects is temporary because it is bound to a specific purpose, that is a project of limited duration. The data may not be provided for permanent tasks.


Use is contractually agreed

For the use of data a user contract is concluded between the scientific institute and the Research Data Centres of the Federal Statistical Office and the Statistical Offices of the federal states. In this contract, the rights and obligations of both contractual partners are regulated. Those include, for example, the obligation of the RDC to supply the data, and the obligation of the data user to stick to the statistical confidentiality.


Use is liable for costs

A fee is charged for the use of official German microdata. The amount of the fee depends on the number of statistics used, survey years and ways of data access. Furthermore, it is relevant whether the requested data are part of the standard supply of the RDC or are prepared specifically for a project.

For more information please see the user charge.


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(Version: February 2015)