1406.0.55.007 - DataLab, User Guide  
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This document was added or updated on 17/09/2021.

About DataLab

New DataLab
Log in
Old DataLab
Log in

What is DataLab
Applying for and using DataLab
New DataLab upgrade
Contact us
Privacy policy

What is DataLab

DataLab is the analysis solution for high-end users who want to undertake real time complex analysis of detailed microdata. Compare data services to see if detailed microdata in the DataLab is the right service for you.

  • view and analyse unit record information
  • recent versions of analytical software, including R, SAS, Stata and Python
  • virtual access to files that remain in the secure ABS environment
  • all analytical output that you want to use outside DataLab are checked by the ABS before release

Who can access DataLab

Researchers who meet ABS safe people criteria, including:
  • ability to use at least one of the statistical analytical languages available in the DataLab
  • at least three years of either quantitative research experience or university study with a significant component working with quantitative data, or have a referral from an experienced researcher working on the same project
  • located in Australia when accessing the microdata
  • belong to an Australian organisation (international researchers and organisations will be considered on a case by case basis)
  • have completed ABS safe researcher training and other requirements
  • belong to an organisation with a Responsible Officer Undertaking in place with the ABS
  • have an approved safe project that is for statistical and/or research purposes and demonstrates public value
  • meet additional criteria that apply to specific microdata

Detailed microdata in the DataLab
  • designed specifically for use within the DataLab environment
  • direct identifiers (such as names and addresses) removed
  • further appropriate confidentiality applied within the context of the other security features of the DataLab
  • topics include Census, health, education, labour force, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, migrants, crime, business, disabilities, ageing and carers
  • datasets include ABS survey results, administrative data collected by other organisations and integrated datasets
  • data item lists are linked from available microdata

Limited release detailed microdata in the DataLab

Some datasets have been released on a limited basis. This includes BLADE and custom MADIP detailed microdata, which are available for approved projects to the following approved users:
  • government employees
  • government contractors and individuals sponsored by government
  • academics
  • researchers from public policy research institutes

Applying for and using DataLab

Step 1. Register and activate your account

Register and agree to conditions of use
  • Use your organisation email address when registering to join your organisation automatically
  • Receive an email asking you to activate your account by clicking on the link
  • If you are not sure if you have previously registered, contact microdata.access@abs.gov.au before re-registering
  • If you are a user in more than one organisation, you will need to register separately using each organisation's email address

Step 2. Complete safe researcher training

See DataLab safe researcher training to enrol

Step 3. Submit documentation

There are legal documents you must sign before accessing microdata in the DataLab
Step 4. Submit project proposal

Project proposals
  • Projects must be for statistical and/or research purposes and provide public benefit
  • Projects must not be for compliance or regulatory purposes
  • Include the purpose and expected outcomes of your project
  • List the datasets you will be analysing and members of your research team
  • Describe your statistical and analytical experience

Contact the ABS to discuss your project requirements and data options before completing a project proposal
Project proposal templates
ABS integrated data project proposal_Sept_2021.docx
ABS DataLab standard detailed data project proposal_Sept_2021.docx

Step 5. Seek approval

User approval
  • You must have statistical experience or be referred by an experienced researcher on your project team
  • You must be able to use the analytical languages in the DataLab
  • You must have a commitment to protect the confidentiality of data
  • Every member of your project team who will see or discuss uncleared output (whether or not they will be using DataLab) needs to be approved

Project approval
  • Every project needs to be approved by ABS
  • Some projects also require consideration by data custodians

Step 6. Access DataLab

ABS creates your DataLab account
  • We set up a DataLab account for you
  • Request input clearance for your code, notes or data that you need to be loaded for your project in DataLab
  • Use analytical software, including R, SAS, Stata and Python
  • Project work spaces can be created to allow you to work with other approved project users within DataLab

Step 7. Output clearance

Contact us when you want output cleared
  • You must not directly remove anything (data, code, notes etc.) from the DataLab
  • All analytical output that you want to use outside DataLab are cleared by the ABS before release
  • Request output clearance
  • Output will be cleared and provided to you, or you may be contacted for further information

New DataLab upgrade

We are adapting to changing needs of researchers by updating the DataLab infrastructure where you access detailed microdata. All projects will migrate from current infrastructure (old DataLab) to new cloud infrastructure (new DataLab) by early 2022. Cloud infrastructure allows us to provide greater stability and scalability for project teams and large complex datasets.

New DataLab is accessed at https://new.datalab.abs.gov.au. New will be dropped from the web address after migration is complete. We will let you know when this change is going to happen.

For more information about using the new DataLab see the New DataLab sections in the left navigator above.

New and old DataLab environments have different log in screens.

New DataLabOld DataLab
Image: New DataLab login screen Image: old DataLab login screen

Contact us

Contact us via email at microdata.access@abs.gov.au. This email account is monitored and we will respond to your query during business standard hours, Monday to Friday.

Privacy policy

The ABS privacy policy and DataLab privacy notice outline how the ABS handles any personal information that you provide to us.

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