About the DataLab

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DataLab is the data analysis solution for high-end users who want to undertake interactive (real time) complex analysis of microdata. DataLab features:

  • view and analyse unit record information
  • up to date analytical software with no code restrictions
  • files remain in the secure ABS environment
  • all analytical outputs are checked by the ABS before being provided to the researcher

Who can and can't access DataLab during the trial?
  • Federal and state government agency researchers may apply for virtual or on-site access to detailed microdata and expanded Confidentialised Unit Record Files (CURFs).
  • 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.
  • Prospective users should contact the ABS if their organisation does not currently meet the requirements for virtual or on-site access. The ABS will consider requests to add organisations and users to the trial on a case-by-case basis.


Access to the DataLab is restricted to authorised users. To become an authorised user, researchers must meet these requirements:

DataLab conditions of access: Users must comply with the DataLab conditions of access and other requirements contained in the Responsible Use of Microdata user guide.

Training: All users who access the DataLab must first attend in-person DataLab training. See DataLab Training Schedule to enrol.

Undertakings: Microdata undertakings are legal documents that organisations and users must sign before being approved to access the DataLab. The documents are available from the Downloads tab of the Responsible Use of Microdata user guide.
  • The head of the user's organisation (or someone with the appropriate delegation) must agree to and sign a Responsible Officer Undertaking.
  • After completing DataLab training, DataLab users must agree to and sign an Individual Undertaking and a Declaration of Compliance.

Experience in statistical analytical languages: DataLab users must be experienced in one of the analytical languages available within the DataLab. If clients do not have knowledge of these analytical languages, they are advised to seek guidance and expertise within their organisation prior to using microdata. The ABS does not provide a code advisory service. The DataLab environment contains up to date versions of SAS, SPSS, Stata, R, R Studio and Anaconda analytical languages. Other software packages may be evaluated by the ABS for inclusion if there is sufficient user demand.

Statistical experience: Users must have sufficient knowledge, experience and statistical capability necessary for handling information, as well as a commitment to protecting and maintaining the confidentiality of data. This may be through statistical qualifications or research experience.

Statistical purpose: Access to microdata in the DataLab must be for statistical purposes. Access for regulatory or compliance purposes is not permitted. Research projects using detailed microdata must also provide public value.

Conditions of use: Users must be registered and joined to their organisation in the Registration Centre. When registering, users must agree to the conditions of use.


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

Detailed microdata files have been designed specifically for use within the DataLab environment. Detailed microdata have direct identifiers (such as names and addresses) removed and have had further appropriate confidentiality applied within the context of the other security features of the DataLab. Detailed microdata files can be used by experienced researchers within the DataLab to undertake sophisticated and in-depth analyses.

Expanded CURFs are less detailed than Detailed Microdata, but are more widely available to researchers.

There are a wide range of topics including health, education, labour force, migrants, crime, business, disabilities, ageing and carers. Some datasets provide access to ABS survey results while other datasets contain administrative data collected by other organisations. Available microdata contains information on which microdata products are available as well as links to supporting materials such as data item lists. See How to Apply to apply for access or Compare access options.

  1. Researchers register in Registration Centre. See How to Apply for details.
  2. Organisation's CEO signs Responsible Officer Undertaking.
  3. Researchers contact microdata.access@abs.gov.au to request access to detailed microdata or expanded CURFs relevant to their research project.
  4. Users attend in-person training. See DataLab Training Schedule to enrol.
  5. Users submit their completed Individual Undertaking and Declaration of Compliance.
  6. Users submit their research project proposal to the ABS.
  7. Users receive approval to access microdata.
  8. Users can prepare their code, programs or notes prior to a DataLab session. These need to be provided to the ABS in advance of the session to allow sufficient time for ABS to vet and load the code or notes to the DataLab.
  9. Researchers attend their DataLab session on-site at one of the ABS offices. Alternatively, if the researcher is participating in the virtual access trial for DataLab, the ABS will contact the researcher to provide access credentials.
  10. Researchers save any output which they would like to access outside of the DataLab after their session. The output is manually cleared by an ABS officer for release, which is usually done within two working days.