Timeliness is the third dimension of quality in the ABS DQF. Timeliness refers to the delay between the reference period (to which the data pertain) and the date at which the data become available; and the delay between the advertised date and the date at which the data become available (i.e., the actual release date). These aspects are important considerations in assessing quality, as lengthy delays between the reference period and data availability, or between advertised and actual release dates, can have implications for the currency or reliability of the data.
The dimension of Timeliness can be evaluated by considering two key aspects:
- Timing: this refers to the time lag between the reference period and when the data actually become available (including the time lag between the advertised date for release and the actual date of release). For example, the reference period may be the 2004-05 financial year, but data may not become available for analysis until the middle of 2006.
- Frequency of survey: this refers to whether the survey or data collection was conducted on a one-off basis, or whether it is expected to be ongoing. If it is expected to be ongoing, frequency also includes information about the proposed frequency of repeated collections and when data will be released for subsequent reference periods.
To assist in evaluating the Timeliness dimension of a dataset or a statistical product, we provide some suggestions of questions which might be asked below.
Suggested questions to assess Timeliness
- What is the gap of time between the reference period, the time when the data were actually collected, and the time when the data became available?
- Are there likely to be subsequent surveys or data collection issues for this topic?
- Are there likely to be updates or revisions to the data after official release?
- What is the gap between the advertised and actual release dates of the data?