Terms of use

The Microdata Library contains two sets of data: those that belong to the World Bank, and those whose ownership is shared or with another agency.

All data disseminated by the World Bank are provided free of charge. But although the World Bank policy is to provide free and open access to data, ethical and legal issues specific to microdata, as well as the shared or external ownership of some datasets, prevent us from providing unconditional and unrestricted access to all data listed in our catalogs. As microdata contain information potentially identifiable of respondents, various levels of accessibility apply. Different datasets have different levels of sensitivity. And different owners have different levels of risk acceptance. The type of access is thus established at the level of each dataset, and is defined by the custodian of the data.

Four categories of access may apply. They are defined below in generic terms; the exact formulation of the access conditions may differ depending on the origin of the data.

Common to all access policies: disclaimer and no authorization to redistribute or sell the data.

Direct access

Direct access is the less restrictive access policy. Datasets and the related documentation are freely without any condition, and interested users are not required tio register or provide any information to download them. The Microdata Library, and the relevant funding agencies bear no responsibility for the data’s use or interpretation or inferences based upon it.

Public use files

Public Use Files (PUFs) 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 is considered minimal. Before gaining access to data, users are asked to register and to read and agree on a set of conditions that says the following:

  • Data and other material provided by the Microdata Library will not be redistributed or sold to other individuals, institutions or organizations without the Microdata Library’s written agreement.
  • Data will be used for statistical and scientific research purposes only. They will be employed solely for reporting aggregated information, including modeling, and not for investigating specific individuals or organizations.
  • No attempt will be made to re-identify respondents, and there will be no use of the identity of any person or establishment discovered inadvertently. Any such discovery will be reported immediately to the Microdata Library.
  • No attempt will be made to produce links between datasets provided by the Microdata Library, and the relevant funding agencies bear no responsibility for the data’s use or interpretation or inferences based upon it.or between Microdata Library data and other datasets that could identify individuals or organizations.
  • Any books, articles, conference papers, theses, dissertations, reports or other publications employing data obtained from the Microdata Library will cite the source, in line with the citation requirement provided with the dataset.
  • The user will inform the Microdata Library of the use of the data in books, articles, and other forms of publication. An electronic copy of all publications based on the requested data will be sent to the Microdata Library.
  • The original collector of the data, the Microdata Library, and the relevant funding agencies bear no responsibility for the data’s use or interpretation or inferences based upon it.

Licensed files

Licensed files are files whose dissemination is restricted to bona fide users – trustworthy users with legitimate need to access the data -- who have received authorization to access them after submitting a documented application and signing an agreement governing the data’s use. The following conditions apply (specific catalogs may differ in formulation, but will have similar principles):

  • Data and other material provided by the Microdata Library will not be redistributed or sold to other individuals, institutions or organizations without the Microdata Library’s written agreement.
  • Data will be used for statistical and scientific research purposes only. They will be employed solely for reporting aggregated information, including modeling, and not for investigating specific individuals or organizations.
  • No attempt will be made to re-identify respondents, and there will be no use of the identity of any person or establishment discovered inadvertently. Any such discovery will be reported immediately to the Microdata Library.
  • No attempt will be made to produce links between datasets provided by the Microdata Library or between Microdata Library data and other datasets that could identify individuals or organizations.
  • Any books, articles, conference papers, theses, dissertations, reports or other publications employing data obtained from the Microdata Library will cite the source, in line with the citation requirement provided with the dataset.
  • The user will inform the Microdata Library of the use of the data in books, articles, and other forms of publication. An electronic copy of all publications based on the requested data will be sent to the Microdata Library.
  • The Microdata Library and the relevant funding agencies bear no responsibility for the data’s use or for interpretation or inferences based upon it.
  • The researcher’s organization must be identified, as must the principal and other researchers involved in using the data. The principal researcher must sign the license on behalf of the organization. If the principal researcher is not authorized to sign on behalf of the receiving organization, a suitable representative must be identified.
  • The intended use of the data, including a list of expected outputs and the organization’s dissemination policy must be identified.

(Conditions 8 to 9 may be waved in the case of educational institutions)

Requests for access to licensed files are submitted through our on-line access request form, and are received and processed by the respective data repositories.

Data Enclave

Some data repositories may offer access to data under strict conditions in a data enclave. This is a facility equipped with computers not linked to the internet or an external network and from which no information can be downloaded via USB ports, CD-DVD or other drives. Data enclaves contain data that are particularly sensitive or allow direct or easy identification of respondents.

Users interested in accessing a data enclave will be asked to complete an application form demonstrating a legitimate need to access these data to fulfill a stated statistical or research purpose.

The World Bank does not operate a data enclave (although Bank staff members, and researchers working with Bank staff under a Bank project, may be provided with access to datasets available to the Bank but not publicly disseminated).

Policy defined by an external repository

The Microdata Library operates both as a data catalog for World Bank data and as a portal for external repositories. Access conditions defined by external repositories are not controlled by the Bank and have their own terms of use.

No access / no policy defined

Some datasets have no access policy defined, or are not accessible. We might include such datasets in our catalogs for the sake of completeness of collections, and for providing questionnaires and reports. No possibility to provide access. Requests for these data will not be answered.

Other

In the situations described above, the user is offered access to microdata files. Other possible forms of access to microdata include remote job submission and remote access to microdata where users have no direct access to them.

Job Submission

One approach to making it possible for users to conduct analyses of confidential data is creating a process that enables them to submit data processing and analysis programs remotely to the data depositor. The user is given a synthetic dataset that replicates the structure and content of the actual datasets. This enables the researcher to develop programs using tools such as SAS, SPSS or Stata. The programs are then transmitted to the data depositor staff, who run the job against the actual dataset. The results are then vetted for disclosure and returned to the user.

Remote Data Access

This consists of providing users with access to web-based data tabulation and analysis software, with no possibility of users downloading datasets or generating tables that would reveal individual or small numbers of records.
The World Bank does not provide a Job Submission service. Some datasets may be accessible through a remote tabulation or analysis system. When this is the case, a link to such systems is provided.



 
 
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