Microdata: Conducting your own research

Microdata are linkable data about individuals, businesses and addresses that universities, scientific organisations, public policy and research institutes in the Netherlands and in a number of other EU countries can use – under strict conditions – to conduct their own statistical research. Safeguarding privacy and preventing the exposure of people or businesses are the key principles in granting access. The research is done in a secure microdata environment of CBS, the Remote Access Environment (RA environment).

How does it work?

1. Authorisation for an institution

An institution must be authorised to access the CBS microdata. The head of the institution should make a request to this effect. The application will then be assessed by CBS on – among other things - whether the institutions' main activity is statistical or scientific research and whether it publishes data for disclosure. Here’s a list of authorised institutions.

2. Project request

The application for a research project is made by filling in four templates. These comprise questions about the purpose of the project, the research questions and the datasets needed for this research. The project request is assessed for feasibility and GDPR compliance, among other things. Subsequently, representatives from the institution are invited for a meeting with CBS experts and CBS will prepare a cost breakdown. The cost of doing your own research depends on the number of researchers, the number of different datasets and the length of the project, among other things. During the contract period, CBS will send quarterly invoices. For more information, visit our Services catalogue. Upon agreement, a project contract will be drawn up, as well as a confidentiality statement for each researcher.

3. Additional services

CBS creates a project environment for you with access to the necessary datasets. Furthermore, we can compile a customised dataset for you or use your external dataset and make it linkable to the CBS microdata. Various software packages can be added to the environment by mutual agreement as well, in addition to the standard software offered. For more information, visit our Services catalogue.

4. Execution

For access to our RA, you will receive a token and explanation on working in our RA environment. It is required that you pass the awareness test as well. While working on the project, you can still make various adjustments, such as adding researchers or datasets. The results of your research will be assessed by CBS for disclosure risk before they can be published. Read more about this in our output guidelines.

5. Publication

After completion of your project, it will be archived and your account will be closed. The research findings on CBS microdata must be published publicly immediately after completion of the research. All publications must be shared with CBS and include accurate source citations.

More information

If you have any further questions, please contact our advisers.