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About the DataLab
Applying for and using DataLab

ABS DataLab access charges commenced on 1 Oct 2020

About the DataLab

DataLab is the analysis solution for high-end users who want to undertake real time complex analysis of microdata. Compare data services to see whether 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, SPSS, Stata, Python and Anaconda Navigator
  • 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 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

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

Contact the ABS to discuss your project requirements and data options before completing a project proposal:
Project proposal templates:

ABS DataLab Integrated Data Project Proposal_February 2021.docx
ABS DataLab Standard Project Proposal.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
  • Some projects require additional consideration by data custodians

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
  • Use the button at the top of this page to request clearance for your code, notes or data to be loaded to DataLab, or send the template below to microdata.access@abs.gov.au
  • Use analytical software, including R, SAS, SPSS, Stata and Python
  • Use other applications, including Word, Excel, Acrobat Reader and UltraEdit
  • Project work spaces can be created to allow you to work with other approved 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
  • Use the button at the top of this page to request output clearance, or send the template below to microdata.access@abs.gov.au
  • Output will be cleared and provided to you, or you may be contacted for further information

Privacy policy

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

Email templates

If the buttons at the top of this page do not work in your environment, use the templates below to request clearance to load your code, notes or data to DataLab or to request DataLab output clearance.

Request DataLab file load email template

Dear DataLab team

I would like to load the attached file(s) to my DataLab account.

Project name:
File type (e.g. code or data):
Description of each file:

Additional information is required for each data file:
  • Organisation/individual owner of the data:
  • Source of the data (include website link if applicable):
  • Any terms of use or licensing that apply to the data that may restrict its use in the ABS DataLab and require additional permissions or conditions:

Request DataLab output clearance email template

Dear DataLab team

I have saved my output to my DataLab clearance folder for ABS review.

Project name:
Output file name(s):
Data file(s) used (e.g. BLADE1617_CORE):
Description of the original and self-constructed variables:
Description of the analysis:

Additional requirements are listed below:
  • Weighted outputs: I have included the unweighted frequencies in my output.
  • Graphs/charts: I have included the underlying numbers used to produce the graphs/charts.
  • I have included any relevant code and log files.


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