With the launch of microdata.no in spring 2018, Norwegian researchers got instant, online, and self serviced access to a core set of microdata variables from Statistics Norway (SSB) without further application through an output disclosure interface. Using the platform researchers are free to merge and analyze data at choice, and to share their work and output, so that e.g. colleagues and peer reviewers may reproduce the results.
The current version of microdata.no is continuously improved. The Microdata 2.0-project set up by SSB, project partner The Norwegian Agency for Shared Services in Education and Research (Sikt), and pilot partner Cancer Registry of Norway (CRN) will develop microdata.no further to become a widely used platform for immediate access to Norwegian Register Data for national and international research, analysis, knowledge based public administration and education.
The Microdata 2.0-project has contributed to
- Increase the data content in the service from some 120 variables to 405 at the end of 2022
- Data are continuously updated according to the latest published statistics within the different domains.
- New, tailormade versioning system allowing for continuous updates and corrections without influencing earlier results
- Data export from microdata.no where the user create his own datasets and applies to have them exported as a part of traditional access to microdata
- Further data manipulation and analytical capabilities
- 26 introductory courses with more than 600 participants during 2022. In addition we have introduced training courses for experienced users.
Further project goals:
- Continuous increase of data content at a faster pace (volume and number of variables)
- Introduce access to data about businesses
- Provide access to data from multiple data owners, e.g. educational data from Sikt, cancer data from CRN, and data from other administrative registers
- Enable researchers to upload and link their own data with microdata on the platform
- Internationalisation (login for international users, multilingual metadata and user interface)
- Further lifting the platform to FAIR- and EOSC-compliance
In addition the Microdata 2.0-project will continuously provide new analytical functions.
An important principle in access to data from different register owners is to provide for distributed data storage where data is stored and controlled by the owners, but accessed from microdata.no. During 2022 microdata.no was upgraded to support third party curation of data and metadata according to structures in microdata.no. This includes a new data administration service available for future data owners.
Microdata 2.0 will be a Norwegian microdata platform for national and international research, analysis and higher education. The infrastructure will be the next level of the microdata.no research service, realizing the potential of the RAIRD-technology.
The main upgrades are
- to widen the scope of SN data from the present 124 variables to some 1200-1500 variables, chosen in co-operation with the users
- to use microdata.no as a dissemination platform for NSD microdata and survey data
- to develop microdata.no to an infrastructure that any data owner, both register and researchers, may utilize to make their data accessible for research use
In addition, the next generation of microdata.no will be facilitated to serve new groups like international researchers, public administration, and the business sector. The project also includes new analytical functions, and will support a digital access dialogue to indirectly identifiable data that need formal approvals.
Microdata.no is based on technology developed by Statistics Norway (SN) and NSD - Norwegian Centre for Research Data in the RAIRD project.
RAIRD focused on technological development of metadata driven data access and automated confidentiality control, both international novelties in micro data access systems.
A critical part of the extension is to further generalize confidentiality methods, curate data and metadata according to models developed in RAIRD. For MIC2 to utilize them, they must be curated and enriched according to research demands. Tools to support this process will be released as part of the project.
Microdata.no aims at a significant increase in research use of register data. During the first six months of service 174 researchers from 21 institutions connected to the platform.