Changes in the way official data can be accessed by researchers was the subject of the well-attended Integrated Data Infrastructure roadshow that pulled into the University’s ELT on 2 April. The roadshow, organised by Statistics New Zealand, was opened by Finance Minister Hon Bill English, and the main speaker was Guido Stark from Statistics New Zealand who explained how IDI will make more data easily available to more non-governmental researchers at close to zero cost.
Bringing together data
IDI brings together data on education, tax, families and households, sentencing and charges, health and safety, migration and movements, student loans and allowances, and benefits. And there are plans to expand these information pools.
The information gathered by IDI will only be accessible by approved researchers who will have to demonstrate data will be used for bona fide research. Data will be accessed via remote access locations, one of which will be set up at Waikato University. Previously, accessing data has been expensive at $1300 per application and an additional $95 a day for access. From 1 July, the application fee will fall to $500, and the daily fee will be dropped altogether.
Protection of data
Protecting privacy, security and confidentiality is of paramount importance with all data being anonymised – no-one can be identified by the data as no personal details are released.
WMS Professor Les Oxley, who introduced the guest speakers, said IDI was a very exciting development, “the equivalent of the invention of the spreadsheet” in terms of data integration.
“This sort of access to data will ensure the University is more a part of the policymaking process than ever before. It will help the Government get deeper into the economic and social issues in New Zealand, and help find solutions.”
The roadshow visited Auckland, Hamilton before heading to Christchurch, Dunedin and Wellington.