Access to State Granular Data for Research and
Analysis: Models of Institutionalization

Viatkin I., Komin M., Kopytok V. «Access to State Granular Data for Research and Analysis: Models of Institutionalization» / M.; Center for Advanced Governance (CAG), Moscow, 2021
An analytical review devoted to models for organizing researchers' access to detailed government data that are used in other countries.

The review included organizations such as: ADR UK (UK), Federal Statistical Office RDC (Germany), Federal Statistical Research Data Centers (US), and others. The review continues the track of informational-analytical products of the Center for Evidence-based Policies (CEP), devoted to the possibilities of implementation of evidence-based policies in Russia.

There are three basic models of organizing researchers' access to microdata of state agencies in the world practice:

  • supplementing the functionality of a statistical agency or a specialized department of a governmental body without creating intermediary organizations (unmediated access approach)
  • creation (or co-founding in partnership) by the state of a separate organization in the form of a research datacenter approach
  • formation of a partnership network of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs, universities, research centers), which fully or partially assume the function of providing data access (research-practice partnership).
In addition to the organizational form, an important difference between the models is the mechanics by which access to data for researchers is realized. They differ in the level of protection and, accordingly, in the level of detail of the available data (the higher the level of protection, the higher the level of detail).

For Russia, the minimum (or starting) scenario for organizing access to microdata for researchers may be a model built on the creation of a special research data center (research data-center), which will be directly subordinated to the individual authorities or be of interdepartmental nature. The optimal scenario for Russia (or a scenario to which it is advisable to move after the formation of sustainable practices of providing access to data) seems to be the use of a partnership network of organizations that implement the full range of work with government microdata - from their processing to the organization of access.