What is a Research Data Centre?
A Research Data Centre is a combination of a secure Statistics Canada office on campus and a statistical analysis computing laboratory. As a Statistics Canada office, a Research Data Centre holds copies of the confidential data files from the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics, the National Population Health Survey, the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth, and the Youth in Transition Survey. As a statistical analysis computing laboratory, a Research Data Centre has a closed local area network consisting of a powerful server supporting a mix of PCs and Macintosh workstations with a range of statistical analysis software. For a more complete description of this computing facility at the University of Alberta, follow the link to Services .
Why Use A Research Data Centre?
The proposal for Research Data Centres arose from the report of a joint-committee of the SSHRC and Statistics Canada in January 1999. Known as the Canadian Initiative for Social Statistics, this report contains several proposals to improve the state of quantitative research and policy analysis in Canada. The idea of Research Data Centres (RDCs) was recommended to provide researchers with access to confidential longitudinal data collected by Statistics Canada. Confidentiality is to be ensured by housing copies of these data files in physically secure RDCs managed by a Statistics Canada employee (a disclosure analyst). Potential users of these confidential data files will require prior approval to work with the data, and will be given access only within the RDC.
- For a general description of the application process on the SSHRC website, follow the link to CISS Research Data Centres.
- For more information about the proposal process, follow the link to the Application Process
Who Has Access to a Research Data Centre?
The confidential data kept by Statistics Canada in a Research Data Centre are protected under the Statistics Act of Canada. Only employees or deemed employees of Statistics Canada may have access to these data. A process has been established within Statistics Canada to permit researchers with approved proposals to work with these data. Basically, these researchers must become deemed employees of Statistics Canada and write a paper on the findings of their research that falls within the mandate of Statistics Canada. To become deemed employees, these researchers must undergo a security evaulation and take an oath to the Statistics Act. Instructions and forms for completing the security evaluation can be obtained by following the link to forms under the Application Process.