Principles for equal treatment of users in releasing statistics and analyses
The main principle is that no external users have access to statistics or analyses before they are announced in the statistics calendar and published available for everyone at www.ssb.no at 08.00 (CET). This is one of Statistics Norway’s key principles for ensuring that all users are treated equally. The media is never given access to statistics or analyses prior to their release.
Exceptions for the statistics
The scope of exceptions, i.e. advance access for external users, shall be limited.
The criteria for an exception being granted are as follows:
- the access is limited to owners of administrative data or (other) professional institutions based on professional collaborations, including quality assurance
- the material is only for internal use in the parts of the institution where it is used in the professional collaboration/quality assurance
- the institution with advance access does not release the material before Statistics Norway releases the material
- the advance access is announced publicly in this document, and in documentation relating to the statistics on ssb.no under “About the statistics” on the statistics’ home page
- the documentation shall specify which parts of the material have advance access and why
- the conditions for releasing material and advance access shall be stipulated in a contract or other written agreement with the client/collaborating institution
- advance access shall be approved by the Director general
Further details of the exceptions are given below:
Statistics Norway employees
Line managers and employees in Statistics Norway who approve and prepare the practical aspects of releases on ssb.no may be given access to the statistics in advance. Other Statistics Norway employees may also be given advance access if it is necessary for their job, but the statistics shall not be disclosed outside Statistics Norway before they are published.
Cooperation with owners of administrative data
A number of statistics are based on administrative registers or other administrative data reported to and owned by ministries or directorates. Statistics Norway cannot, of course, prevent data owners from releasing statistics based on their own material. However, if Statistics Norway processes the material in the form of controls and editing, or adds new identifiers through links to other data, the data owner cannot disclose the resulting statistics or use them before they are released by Statistics Norway. There is sometimes, however, cooperation with the data owner on the processing of the material in Statistics Norway in order to ensure the data quality. This contact can be a necessary part of the quality assurance process.
There may be cases where the data owner wants to release data from the common material, with more details than is to be published by Statistics Norway. Such data cannot be released before Statistics Norway’s own release.
The exceptions are
Statistics on sickness absence ( NAV (Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration)): www.ssb.no/en/sykefratot
The statistics consist of a sample section (on self-certification) funded by NAV, and a register section on doctor-certified sickness absence (NAV) where NAV is also a partner in the production. NAV publishes parts of the statistics at the same time as Statistics Norway and afterwards, and also publishes more details. NAV receives draft versions of the tables to be published by Statistics Norway, and other tables and files, but is never sent any identifiable data from the sample survey on self-certified sickness absence. Neither is it sent the text from the statistics release. The reason for the exception is partly Statistics Norway’s need for quality control in connection with the impact of changes in regulations and routines for certification, and partly the need for NAV and Statistics Norway to release the same figures at the same time (resolution of the DM on 8 December 2014).
Cooperation with professional institutions
In some cases, statistics are produced based on surveys carried out in cooperation with other professional institutions, or as part of an assignment from such institutions. When the provision for the duty to provide information to the Statistics Act is applied, the release of the statistics must also follow the main rule even when the statistics are user financed.
For user-financed statistics without the duty to provide information, such as various interview surveys, the client can have access to the results before they are released if this is a necessary part of the quality assurance. Such access is only for internal use, and the client cannot release the material before Statistics Norway.
It may also be that Statistics Norway and the partner institution analyse and release different parts of the same source material. In this case, the partner institution must have access to the same material as Statistics Norway. The partner institution cannot release the material before Statistics Norway.
The exceptions are
1. Storting election ( Institute for Social Research): www.ssb.no/en/vund)
The Institute for Social Research (ISR) is a partner and finances the survey, which is a voluntary sample survey. The ISR also has responsibility for formulating the questions. The ISR publishes a book at the same time as Statistics Norway’s release. The basis for the exception is the need for quality assurance, since Statistics Norway and the ISR’s releases are based on the same source figures, but these figures can be prepared and processed in different ways prior to release (resolution of the meeting of the DM on 8 December 2014).
2. Research and development in industry ( Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education (NIFU)): www.ssb.no/en/foun/aar-endelige
The Research Council of Norway funds the collaboration between NIFU and Statistics Norway on R&D statistics in Norway. Under the contract with NIFU, the two parties work together, with NIFU responsible for universities, colleges and the institute sector, and Statistics Norway responsible for industry (based on a sample survey with the duty to provide information). NIFU publishes the total figure for Norway and reports to Eurostat and the OECD. Statistics Norway’s release is simultaneous to NIFU, but Statistics Norway only publishes the figures for industry, and gives more details. NIFU receives key figures on industry as a basis for the publication of national R&D figures just before Statistics Norway’s release. Statistics Norway receives key figures on universities, colleges and the institute sector (resolution of the DM on 8 December 2014).
Exceptions for the analyses
The main principle of equal treatment also applies to research and analysis financed by the basic government funding of Statistics Norway. This means that no one has access to publications or articles before anyone else.
Clients of research projects, studies and consulting assignments, however, have access to draft reports for internal use where this is part of a professional cooperation/quality assurance. Statistics Norway’s final report is published on ssb.no at the same time for all users at 08.00 (CET). The time of publication is clarified with the client and notified in advance in Statistics Norway’s statistics calendar. The client may also self-publish the report by linking it to their website, simultaneous with Statistics Norway’s release.