Pacific Data Hub Microdata Library - Terms of Use

The Pacific Data Hub - Microdata Library provides a means of extending the statistical and research uses of microdata to support decision making in the Pacific Islands region. Microdata are unit-level data that has been gathered by sample surveys, censuses, and administrative systems. They provide information about characteristics of individual people or entities such as households or even geographical areas such as villages or towns.

The Pacific Data Hub - Microdata Library, is responsible for improving the accessibility and availability of datasets and promoting new ways of using and reusing data for current and future use.  These datasets have been modified in such a way that the possibility of identifying individuals or households is minimised. They are made available to individual researchers, universities and research institutions subject to a number of conditions known as Terms of Use. The vision of the Pacific Data Hub-Microdata Library is to improve access and use of Pacific Island microdata, and fully maximise the benefits of broadening access whilst at the same time minimising risk.

Data access

SPC provides access to microdata only for approved researchers and disseminates data under some restrictions and specific conditions, the terms of which vary by source, as well as according to the individual characteristics of each microdata set. To protect the confidentiality of individual information and to meet the requirements of the data owners who provide the microdata sets, the Pacific Data Hub-Microdata Library has various types of access that may be applied to specific datasets under which data may be made accessible and governed by Terms of Use.

Types of data access

Open Data access (Creative Commons)

Microdata are made available for this purpose by the Licensor will be freely shared with SPC and external data users, per their applicable Terms of Use. Under these terms, users are free to copy, distribute, adapt, display or include the data in other products for commercial and non-commercial purposes at no cost, subject to certain limitations. These data are made easily accessible because the risk of identifying individual respondents is considered minimal. Open datasets contain no identifying information such as name, date of birth, unique address or details of place. Where the dataset is of a sample survey, or where the reference period has long past, this will reduce the amount of aggregation needed to protect confidentiality. Statistics are contained in datasets with related documentation and all are made available freely to users.

  • Users are free to copy, distribute, adapt, display or include the data in other products for commercial and non-commercial purposes at no cost subject to certain limitations summarised below.
  • Users must include attribution for the data you use in the manner indicated in the metadata included with the data.
  • SPC makes no warranties with respect to the data and users agree SPC shall not be liable in connection with any use of the data.

Public Use Files are available to anyone agreeing to respect a core set of easy-to-meet conditions. These data are made easily accessible because the risk of identifying individual respondents or data providers is considered to be low. Before gaining access to these data, users are asked to register and to read and agree on the following conditions.

  • Data and other material provided will be used solely by the user and shall not be redistributed or sold to other individuals, institutions or organisations without SPC's prior written agreement, and only subject to such conditions as may accompany such consent.
  • The data will be used for statistical and scientific research purposes only.
  • No attempt will be made to identify respondents or microdata providers, and no use will be made of the identity of any person, facility or establishment discovered inadvertently.
  • No attempt will be made to create links between datasets provided and other datasets that could identify individuals or organisations.
  • The original collector of the data (Licensor), SPC, and the relevant funding agencies bear no responsibility for any use of the data or for interpretations or inferences based upon such uses.

Licensed access 

Licensed files are files whose dissemination is restricted to bona fide, authenticated users who have legitimate need to access the data – and who have received authorisation to access them after submitting a documented application for access and signing a Data Access Agreement governing the data's use. These users must be acting on behalf of an organisation, and must take responsibility for the use.

Data providers (licensors) can place additional conditions on the form of access that result from the intended use by the third party (researcher). Some datasets in the Pacific Data Hub - Microdata Library are provided by third parties, and may not be redistributed or reused without the consent of the original data provider (licensor), or may be subject to terms and conditions that are different from those described in the Terms of Use. Where applicable, these conditions are included in the dataset or indicator metadata.

The following conditions apply (specific datasets may differ in formulation, but will have similar principles):

  • Unless otherwise agreed, the analysis performed by approved persons shall be limited to the sole purposes of research and policy development relating to the topics agreed in advance between the user, the data provider and SPC. The results of the research must be made publicly available.
  • Any research generated from these data will be shared with SPC for comment and reaction prior to publication. Any microdata data that has been shared will remain the property of the Licensor.
  • The Licensor can place additional conditions on the form of access that result from the intended use of Microdata by the user. All such third-party licensees will still be required to meet all the obligations placed by the Licensor on the SPC. Permission may also be explicitly required from the Licensor who have placed the microdata with SPC in addition to the conditions specified in the SPC Pacific Data Hub - Microdata Library Terms of Use.
  • Data and other material provided by the Pacific Data Hub - Microdata Library will be used solely by the user, and shall not be redistributed or sold to other individuals, institutions or organisations without the SPC's prior written agreement, and only subject to such conditions as may accompany such consent.
  • The data will be used for statistical and scientific research purposes only. They will be used solely for generating, and perhaps reporting, aggregated information and not for investigations into specific individuals or organisations. In other words, the data shall be treated as a finished product - it may be used as a foundation for further work, but no reverse engineering or "upstream research" into the sources of the data itself will be permitted.
  • No attempt will be made to identify respondents or microdata providers, and no use will be made of the identity of any person, facility or establishment discovered inadvertently. Any such discovery would immediately be reported to SPC, to allow SPC to evaluate further use, apply further statistical disclosure control methods, impose further restrictions on access, or appropriately re-classify the data.
  • No attempt will be made to create links between datasets provided and other datasets that could identify individuals or organisations.
  • As a condition to access Licensed Files, the user's organisation must be identified, as must the principal and other researchers who will be involved in using the data at that organisation. The principal researcher may be asked to sign a license on behalf of the organisation. If the principal researcher is not authorised to sign on behalf of the receiving organisation, a suitable representative must be identified. Any violation of the Microdata Terms of Use will be considered to have occurred on behalf of the user's organisation, and SPC we will take appropriate measures to sanction such misconduct, which may include denying any further and future access by any user from that organisation.
  • The intended use of the data, including a list of expected outputs must be identified and no different uses shall be permitted without prior written consent from SPC.

When downloading datasets published under the licensed files policy, users shall signify their agreement to comply with the above-stated terms of use and conditions and agree that the use of statistical data obtained from the Pacific Data Hub - Microdata Library will conform to these widely-accepted standards of practice and any other legal restrictions to protect the confidentiality of respondents.

General approval for SPC internal use under license

  • Datasets licensed to the Pacific Data Hub - Microdata Library  are datasets whose dissemination is restricted to bona fide approved users who have general approval for SPC internal use only. Dataset(s) shared by the Licensor would strictly be for use only by SPC Staff, and then only for their internal use while performing their official duties. Dataset(s) shared by the Licensor may not be redistributed to external users of the data without the formal agreement of the Licensor.
  • Unless otherwise restricted, use by the SPC will include the preparation and publication of statistical aggregates and indicators about the Pacific Community as a region, or for bringing together the statistics of the individual countries within the region, based on secondary analysis of data for research/policy purposes and for dissemination after consultation normally required for such studies.

Data held in an external repository

The SPC Pacific Data Hub - Microdata Library operates both as a data catalogue for open or licensed data as well as a portal to data held in a number of external repositories. It is the aim to provide to the most comprehensive catalogue of development related microdata possible from the information gathered by both the National Statistics Offices of SPC member countries, and others including international organisations and universities who have carried out surveys among the countries of the region. To this end, studies conducted and owned by other institutions as well as links to those studies are listed in the Pacific Data Hub - Microdata Library.

Datasets provided by external agencies are not owned or controlled by SPC and have their own Terms of Use. When a user gains access to external repositories, it will be the Terms of Use and conditions of the external repositories which apply, and which govern the use of those external repositories shall govern access to their data.

The Pacific Data Hub - Microdata Library is not responsible in any way for the external repositories, their terms, or their collections.

Not Accessible

  • Some datasets have no access policy defined, or are not accessible. SPC however will provide a data preservation and achiving service for datasets that cannot be disseminated. Such datasets will be fully documented for the sake of completeness and for the purpose of providing access to questionnaires and reports.
  • SPC member countries may place microdata in the Pacific Data Hub Microdata Library for the sole or prime purpose of providing for its preservation and archiving, and the retention of metadata relevant to its later use.
  • Where microdata has been placed in the Pacific Data Hub - Microdata Library there will be a Data License Agreement (DLA) between the SPC and the data provider (Licensor) of the SPC member country or other agency responsible for producing the microdata based on whether the microdata is being placed in Pacific Data Hub - Microdata Library for its preservation.

Principles for access to microdata

We consider the five safe principles for access to microdata, adopted an internationally recognised framework that summarises the key components that need to be considered to ensure risks associated with microdata access are appropriately assessed and managed:

  • Safe people – ensure researchers have the skills and experience necessary to work with microdata, and that the researchers can be trusted to use the data appropriately and follow procedures.
  • Safe projects – ensure applications have a research, analytical, or statistical purpose and are in relation to a matter of public interest. The data requested should be able to answer the research questions and confidentiality risks adequately mitigated.
  • Safe data – ensure that microdata is de-identified and researchers are only provided with access to the data they need, and only for the time agreed.
  • Safe settings – ensure that SPC Pacific Data Hub Microdata Library, is assessed and regularly audited to ensure that it is adequately protected against unauthorised access to the data.
  • Safe outputs – ensure that there will be no confidentiality concerns with the proposed outputs.

Terms of Use

After agreement on the required types of access, all persons who are approved to use of the statistical microdata held by the Pacific Data Hub - Microdata Library are required to formally agree to the Terms of Use for access determined by SPC.

Each request for access to Microdata will meet the terms of the Data License Agreement for that microdata agreed between the SPC and data provider such as National Statistical Office or other agency (Licensor) which has produced the microdata. 

Regardless of the access method in place for any dataset, all potential users are required to agree to a disclaimer, in which they agree to follow the Terms of Use applicable to the Pacific Data Hub - Microdata Library when they apply to access data, and acknowledge that the original collector of the data (Licensor), the Pacific Data Hub - Microdata Library and any relevant funding agency bear no responsibility for any use of the data or for interpretations or inferences based upon such uses. SPC makes no claim about the quality of the data or its suitability for any type of analysis or use.

The SPC will enforce any obligations determined as appropriate redress by the SPC or required by the national laws of the SPC member countries (licensor) which produced the original data.  This will be enforced by the Director-General of the SPC or one of his immediate reports.

The Pacific Data Hub-Microdata Library will agree with Licensor that:

  1. The Terms of Use will apply to all users who have received approval under these conditions to have restricted access to microdata contained in the Pacific Data Hub - Microdata Library.   If required, external applicants and their organisations will have to meet any conditions separately specified by the original provider (Licensor) of the microdata to the SPC.
  2. The Pacific Community has a general authority to prepare and publish statistical aggregates and indicators on the dissemination platforms in common use across the Pacific Community based on secondary analysis of data undertaken for research/policy purposes and which meets all the conditions in this agreement. 
  3. Many SPC member countries are too small for methods and rules of confidentiality protection common to large countries to be sufficient in these countries for tabulations.  SPC administers any additional rules which may be set by individual SPC member country National Statistical Offices.
  4. Changes can only be made through formal agreement 

Limitations on access by approved users

  1. The Terms of Use recognise obligations common to the national laws of SPC member countries which have produced the original data and which protect the integrity of statistical sources, as well as any legal obligations specific to the Licensor, where they require researchers to sign a Confidentiality Declaration or Declaration of Secrecy before viewing any microdata.
  2. Microdata will not in any way be used for any administrative, proprietary or law enforcement purposes.
  3. Access to approved microdata is limited at all times to the Lead Researcher and other members of the research team listed in this request.  No copies of these data can be made or shared with those beyond the organisation of the applicant.
  4. The Lead Researcher will implement security measures to prevent unauthorised access to licensed microdata acquired from the  Pacific Data Hub - Microdata Library.  The microdata approved for access, or any data created on the basis of the original data, will not be copied or made available to anyone other than those mentioned in the Data Access Agreement (DAA).
  5. If the Lead Researcher for any request does not have the authority within their organisation to meet all the Terms of Use and conditions of any Data Access Agreement (DAA), then the authorising person of that organisation for any Data Access Agreement (DAA) must be a person able to do so.
  6. These conditions come into force on the date that approval is given for access to the restricted microdata files by way of the Data Access Agreement (DAA).  The conditions remain in force until the completion date of the project or an earlier date if the project is completed ahead of time.
  7. Neither the original collector of the microdata (Licensor) nor the Pacific Data Hub - Microdata Library, nor the relevant funding agencies bear any responsibility for use of the data or for interpretations or inferences based upon such uses.
  8. Breaches of the conditions of access will be taken seriously.  SPC will take action against those responsible for the lapse whether wilful or accidental. Failure to comply with the Terms of Use of the  Pacific Data Hub - Microdata Library will be deemed to be a major breach of the conditions and the formal Data Access Agreement (DAA) and may involve recourse to legal proceedings.
  9. SPC will maintain and share with partners a register of those individuals and organisations which have been responsible for breaching the terms of the Data Access Agreement and will impose sanctions on release of future microdata to these parties.
  10. The matching of the restricted microdata with any other micro-dataset is not permitted under the conditions of access.
  11. Any microdata held outside of the SPC Pacific Data Hub - Microdata Library must be destroyed upon the completion of the research specified in the Data Access Agreement.  Destruction of the microdata will be confirmed in writing to SPC by the Lead Researcher.

Protection of Intellectual Property of Microdata and of Derivative works

  1. The results of the research must be made publicly available.
  2. Any books, articles, conference papers, theses, dissertations, reports, or other publications that employ microdata licensed for use to the Pacific Data Hub - Microdata Library will cite the source of data in accordance with the citation requirements of the Licensor and SPC. 
  3. An electronic copy of all reports and publications based on the requested microdata will be sent to SPC.
  4. Pre-existing intellectual property rights remain the property of their current owner. Any intellectual property rights arising out of joint collaboration will vest jointly in the parties.
  5. The SPC recognises that the Government Statistician and the judicial authorities of the SPC member country (Licensor) are the sovereign authority on matters relating to compliance with the statistical legislation of that member by all parties to an agreement for data access.
  6. The Pacific Data Hub - Microdata Library will specify metadata standards which will be met by microdata files.
  7. Protection of intellectual property: data access aggrements must consider the applicability of copyright or of other intellectual property laws that may be relevant. Note: Microdata obtained (and in some cases published) by international organisations are often produced through data collection activities implemented and funded by multiple national and international partners. The ownership of the resulting data is not always clearly identified. The rights or obligations to disseminate microdata should be explicitly defined in funding agreements and contracts.