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13th May, 2020: Update regarding arrangements in place for researchers

CSO is now in a position to consider requests from researchers to connect remotely to the RDP for access to off-site RMF projects. Requests for access to on-site RMF projects from home will not be considered at this time.
Requests for access will only be approved in cases where the researcher and the research organisation's RMF contact declare that all appropriate security measures required by the terms and conditions of the RMF Standard Agreement will be applied where the researcher accesses the CSO RDP from home.

To apply, please complete the Application for Remote Access to the RDP and forward it to your RMF Contact.

Kind regards,
Researcher Coordination Unit,


Data for Researchers

The primary objective of the CSO in providing access to microdata is to support the research community and to ensure that maximum usage is made of the data collected by the CSO. This approach supports the move towards evidence-based policy-making, has the potential to reduce the cost of research and also helps to avoid duplicate data collections.

The information available to the CSO (whether directly or indirectly) is used by the Office for statistical purposes only. The manner in which the information is protected is outlined in the Statistics Act, 1993. As the issue of confidentiality is of paramount importance to the work of the Office, a CSO Code of Practice on Statistical Confidentiality has been published and is strictly enforced.

Under the provisions of the Statistics Act, 1993, the CSO may provide access to microdata files under strict conditions to ensure that the integrity and confidentiality of data collected under the Act is maintained. Access is granted to microdata for scientific and statistical purposes only.


When considering applying for access to microdata, a researcher should investigate if the required data is available from another source. The levels of data available from CSO for research purposes can be viewed as a pyramid:



The CSO provides access to two types of microdata files:

  1. Anonymised Microdata Files (AMFs) 

Anonymised microdata files contain microdata that are provided for statistical/research purposes only in such a form that the information related to an identifiable entity/person cannot be directly (so, no direct identifiers) or indirectly (in many cases having undergone additional anonymisation procedures such as "top-coding", e.g., specific age re-coded to an age class) identified.

 Further information on AMFs is available here 

      2.  Research Microdata Files (RMFs)

RMFs are unit record files that do not contain direct identifiers but where the risk of disclosure through indirect identification is considered to be significant. RMFs are not statistical products, as our products relate to aggregated statistical analysis, but are research files that are made available to persons authorised to access such files under the Statistics Act, 1993 subject to strict criteria.


Approval for access to microdata

Access to RMFs is strictly controlled and can only be granted within the framework of the Statistics Act, 1993. In order for RMF access to be granted, approval must be granted by a Statistician, a Senior Statistician, a Director/Assistant Director General and by the Director General of the CSO. Approval will be considered for RMF access only where a researcher meets the following requirements:        


  • The researcher is employed by or is formally related to a registered Research Organisation
  • The researcher is a CSO registered researcher
  • The researcher has completed CSO researcher training which reinforces the terms and conditions of the RMF Standard Agreement
  • The researcher agrees to abide by the terms and conditions of the RMF Standard Agreement
  • The researcher signs a Declaration of Secrecy and is appointed an Officers of Statistics

Applying for access

  • Step 1– Research Organisation Registration

Ensure your research organisation is recognised as a research entity.

Registration is required for all Research Organisations whose researchers wish to be granted access to RMFs. It should be noted that the term "Research Organisation" refers to organisations whose primary focus is on research and also to organisations who have research units where the organisation's principal activity is not research. It should also be noted that Research Organisation Registration does not bestow any specific status on the organisation registered or imply any preferential access to RMFs. It simply implies that the organisation level details are held on file within the CSO and that access requests for RMFs themselves will be streamlined, i.e. the organisational level detail will not have to be resubmitted with each RMF access request. A list of registered research organisations is available here


  • Step 2– Researcher Registration


Become a registered researcher

A researcher who has not previously accessed CSO RMF data on behalf of their current Research Organisation must complete a Researcher Registration Form. Only applications from researchers who are employed by, or formally related to, a registered research organisation will be considered.

  • Step 3 – RMF Application Form


Lead researcher to complete application form

Completed application forms must be countersigned by the RMF Contact and emailed by the RMF Contact (and not the lead researcher) to in Word format.


How is access to microdata provided?

Depending on the RMF(s) being accessed, we will:

  • send you credentials and a hardware fob to access the data remotely via CSO Researcher Data Portal (RDP); or
  • authorise you to access data on-site in a CSO office in Cork or Rathmines via the CSO Researcher Data Portal (RDP).

Access to microdata is only valid for the period specified in the RMF Standard Agreement.


Researchers should note that Eurostat provide access to European microdata files. Researchers interested in accessing Eurostat microdata files should contact Eurostat directly; details are available via the following link:


  • Data for Researchers
  • Forms
  • Research Microdata Files (RMFs) register
  • Register of Research Organisations
  • RMF Application Procedure
  • On-site research
  • Anonymised Microdata Files
  • Policies
  • Officers of Statistics and Declaration of Secrecy
  • Resources for Researchers
  • Contact Us