Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Enhanced transnational access to confidential data on EU citizens, households and businesses

Access to data on individuals, households and firms – so-called microdata – is important for research undertaken for economic and policy reasons. An EU initiative linked research capacity with European resources of Official Statistics (OS) microdata.
Enhanced transnational access to confidential data on EU citizens, households and businesses
Although many EU Member States have enabled easier access to anonymised microdata, a great wealth of information remains underutilised – most often 'blocked' by national, legislative, technical and cultural borders. The EU-funded DWB (Data without boundaries) project set out to facilitate better transnational access, important to cutting-edge research, while keeping sensitive and confidential data secure.

Project partners developed a broad range of metadata and access services for the research community, the European Statistical System led by Eurostat and the Council of European Social Science Data Archives. These services are designed to promote and foster the exchange of best practices, better understanding and common ground concerning access to and provision of data from Official Statistics.

One of the metadata services provides a comprehensive overview of official microdata disseminated for research purposes by national statistical institutes across Europe. The other is an online service platform that supplies systematically structured metadata for Official Statistics, including metadata describing EU datasets provided by Eurostat.

A key access service is the interactive visualisation tool that demonstrates the potential and limitations in transnational access to confidential official data across the European Research Area. Another is a database on national accreditation and data access conditions that contains factsheets on data produced by leading statistical bodies in 32 European countries. Eight calls were also launched for transnational access to sensitive and detailed microdata that resulted in 40 research projects.

DWB introduced an integrated research data model for seamless transnational access to sensitive data. Nothing can hold back access to the existing wealth of official microdata now for a diverse range of stakeholders.

Related information


Confidential data, microdata, Official Statistics, DWB, data access
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