About the DataLab

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About the DataLab

DataLab is the analysis solution for high-end users who want to undertake real time complex analysis of microdata. Virtual access to DataLab is currently being trialled.

  • view and analyse unit record information
  • recent versions of analytical software, including R, SAS, SPSS, Stata and Python
  • files 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 and can't access DataLab during the trial?
  • Users must have statistical experience and know how to use analytical languages in the DataLab
  • Federal and state government agency researchers may apply for virtual or on-site access to detailed and expanded microdata
  • Other Australian organisation researchers, such as higher degree university researchers, may apply for on-site access at one of the ABS offices
  • International organisations and undergraduate students from Australian universities are not able to access the DataLab at this stage of the trial

Contact us if your organisation does not currently meet the requirements for virtual or on-site access. We will consider requests to add organisations and users to the trial on a case-by-case basis.

Available microdata
  • Census, health, education, labour force, migrants, crime, business, disabilities, ageing and carers
  • ABS survey results, administrative data collected by other organisations and integrated datasets
  • Data item lists are linked from available microdata
  • See how to apply and compare access options

There are two types of microdata files available within the DataLab environment.

Detailed microdata
  • 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

Expanded microdata
  • less detailed and more highly confidentialised than detailed microdata
  • more widely available to researchers

DataLab Process

Step 1. Register and activate your account

Register and agree to conditions of use
  • Use your organisation email address when registering to join 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 or phone 1300 135 070 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. Attend safe researcher training

Check the safe researcher training schedule to enrol
  • Mandatory in-person attendance
  • Half-day sessions usually held at ABS offices

Step 3. Submit documentation

There are legal documents you must sign before accessing microdata in the DataLab

Step 4. Submit project proposal

Your project must:
  • demonstrate public value
  • be for statistical or research purposes, not for compliance or regulatory purposes

The project proposal describes:
  • the purpose and expected outcomes of your project
  • which datasets you will be analysing
  • the members of your research team
  • your statistical and analytical experience

To request a project proposal template, email:

Step 5. Seek approval

User approval
  • You must have statistical experience and 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
  • Some projects require additional consideration by data custodians
  • Project work spaces can be created to allow you to work with other approved users within DataLab

Step 6. Access DataLab

ABS creates your DataLab account
  • We set up a DataLab account for you, including a Fortitoken, for two-factor log in identification
  • You provide your code or notes to us to load to your DataLab account
  • Use analytical software, including R, SAS, SPSS, Stata and Python
  • Use other applications, including Word, Excel, Acrobat Reader and UltraEdit

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
  • Use the button at the top of this page to request output clearance
  • Output will be cleared and provided to you