|Activity type||Online training (2 x 2 full days)|
|Title||Training course on researchers access to microdata|
Senior officials from the national statistics institute and/or other producer of official statistics
|Timing||29-30 June and 8 and 9 July 2020|
The aim of the activity was to train the participants in what is required to provide researchers access to micro data based on examples and experience of countries that have implemented such processes. More specifically, the aim was to clarify definitions, to provide an overview of the legal frameworks at stake and to present a framework for implementing with different possible strategies the various processes that are required for providing access to microdata for research purposes: user accreditation, data preparation, metadata, access facilities, communication. The countries’ specific issues, main difficulties and possible solutions could then be discussed by the participants in light of this framework.
It was initially aimed to have about 2 people by beneficiary country participating to the training, i.e. 12 people. Due to COVID-19, it was decided to implement the activity online (using Zoom) and the countries were offered to have more people attending the training. The proposal was welcome as shown by the final unexpectedly high number of participants, 65 with 13 from Armenia, 4 from Azerbaijan, 14 from Belarus, 5 from Georgia, 12 from Moldova, and 15 from Ukraine. The participants included people from numerous departments, in particular the legal departments, the methodology and quality departments, the surveys departments, the communication/dissemination/information departments, the IT departments and the resources departments, involving many times the heads of the departments and for Armenia several researchers from the Central Bank. This was very much in line with the training objective, as the implementation of researchers’ access to microdata requires a strong involvement and coordination of these various departments and liaising with researchers.
The 4 days’ training were divided in 2 x 2 days, in June and July with four sessions each day. Though interaction with numerous participants was more difficult online than in an on-site meeting, the four days training offered the possibilities of interesting questions at the end of each session. Continuous attendance (with even 2 more participants joining for the second part of the training on July 8 and 9) demonstrated the interest of the participants. It was decided to slightly reorganise the workshop on the training on the fourth day, with an internal discussion for each country instead of grouping two or three countries. The countries’ participants were asked to analyse their current situation in the light of the framework presented during the training on the legal frameworks, the five safes (safe projects, safe researchers, safe data, safe settings, safe outputs) and communication issues. It worked well and all countries presented their analysis of the situation during the round table session.
The presentations made by the countries showed that the participants have been able to seize very well the framework provided during the training for analysing their current situation and next steps. The main concepts and strategies have been well understood and should help the various institutes identifying priorities and key actors.
Most countries attending the training have changed or are on the way to change their legal frameworks for allowing access to confidential microdata for research and some have already started providing access. It is therefore expected that they will benefit from the training and that there should be fruitful development in the near future. Participants have expressed satisfaction in the training and interest for future support, for which various possibilities have been rapidly discussed and could be further investigated (regular online support, on-site support on specific issues, future workshops for discussing progress made and roadmaps).