Protocols for the collection and reporting of LSAY data
Under its contractual obligations, the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) is responsible for the circulation of research findings and survey results of the Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth (LSAY). In fulfilling its contractual obligations, NCVER adheres to the following principles:
- to contribute to the improvement of the quality of information gathered to ensure that they are suitable to support research;
- to observe the highest professional standards;
- to protect the privacy of individuals and suppliers of information;
- to disseminate data in ways that are transparent and aid better decision making in key policy issues and priorities;
- to support external data users; and
- to uphold the credibility and independence of NCVER.
NCVER staff are bound by protocols covering the privacy and confidentiality of data and the release of information. On appointment, staff are required to sign an undertaking which gives effect to these protocols. External data users are also required to show how they will comply with the protocols before access to unit record data is granted.
The privacy and confidentiality protocols are described below:
The purpose of these protocols is to allow statistical analysis to be undertaken using NCVER data holdings - LSAY - in a way that protects the privacy of persons and organisations about whom information is held.
- Information about persons and organisations is held in NCVER data holdings at unit record level. It is necessary to collect the data at this level so that it can be disaggregated in different ways to meet the needs of policy makers, researchers and other data users.
- Access to NCVER data holdings at unit record level is permitted to staff and contractors of NCVER via a secure computer server. Staff and contractors are also required to sign an undertaking regarding appropriate usage of data.
- External users are only granted access to NCVER data holdings at unit record level where they have demonstrated to the satisfaction of NCVER that they have a research interest in information at this level and that the data would be securely protected. External users must also sign an undertaking to preserve the confidentiality of the records. More information about data restrictions for external users are detailed in the next section.
- NCVER data holdings do not contain the names or addresses of persons. The names of schools and training providers are also excluded from NCVER data holdings of LSAY information.
- NCVER will not release or publish information that allows comparisons of School Achievement information by State or School Sector. LSAY data sets therefore contain either State/Sector information or Achievement data.
There are also separate protocols covering the release of information, as described below:
The key objective here is to aid better policy making and practice in the transitions of young Australians and promote more informed choices on the part of students and parents. In principle the data should be fully accessible to all users and information provided in a way that suits a variety of user needs, so long as access is consistent with the privacy and confidentiality protocols.
- Any person or organisation with an interest in the transitions of young people and longitudinal data may request information from NCVER and use this information publicly, provided that the source is properly acknowledged.
- In its publications NCVER will ensure appropriate clarification, explanations and caveats are included to promote understanding and interpretation. However, it is a generally accepted principle of research that the possibility of misinterpretation should not be used as a reason for suppressing or withholding information.
- The release of confidentialised unit record files for external users is to be managed through the Australian Data Archive (ADA) and NCVER. Any published work based on the data provided must acknowledge the source of the data and include a clause that the views expressed can be attributed only to the authors.
External users are also bound by protocols covering data restrictions on use of LSAY data, as described below:
- Data is restricted for research purposes only and is not to be used for commercial or financial gain.
- LSAY data users must also agree to refrain from reporting student achievement information by school sector for the 2003 and 2006 cohorts. This reflects permission requirements agreed at the time the data were collected.
Further conditions of use are outlined in the LSAY ‘User undertaking’ form which is available from the ADA LSAY information page. The conditions of use are as follows:
Use of the material is restricted for statistical purposes. This means the user can only use the material to produce information of a statistical nature. Examples of such uses are:
a. the manipulation of data to produce means, correlations or other descriptive summary measures;
b. the estimation of population characteristics from sample data;
c. the use of data as input to mathematical models and for other types of analyses (for example, factor analysis); and
d. the provision of graphical and pictorial representation of characteristics of the population or sub-sets of the population.
The material is not to be used for any non-statistical purposes, or for commercial or financial gain without the express written permission of the Australian Data Archive National Manager. Examples of non-statistical purposes include (but are not limited to):
a. transmitting or allowing access to the data in part or whole to any other person, department, or organisation not a party to this undertaking; and
b. attempting to match unit record data in whole or in part with any other information for the purposes of attempting to identify individuals.
Statistical tables, graphs etc. obtained from analysis of these data may be further disseminated provided that the user:
a. identify the primary investigators, data series and version number, and data distributors by including the bibliographic reference for the data file;
b. acknowledges another archive where the data file is made available through the Australian Data Archive by another archive; and
c. declares that those who carried out the original analysis and collection of the data bear no responsibility for the further analysis or interpretation of them.
Use of the material is solely at the user’s risk and the user must indemnify the Australian Data Archive (ADA) and the ADA consortium members (the Australian National University, the University of Melbourne, the University of Queensland, the University of Technology, Sydney and the University of Western Australia), the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) and the Commonwealth of Australia against any liability, loss or expense incurred by the ANU, ADA, NCVER or Commonwealth arising from any action taken against them resulting from unauthorised use or duplication of material, or any other breach of conditions set out in the undertaking.
The Australian National University, the Australian Data Archive, the National Centre for Vocational Education Research and the Commonwealth of Australia shall not be held responsible for the accuracy and completeness of the material supplied.
a. the user must draw the terms and conditions of the undertaking to the attention of persons within the department/organisation who shall make use of the material; and
b. the Australian Data Archive (ADA) and the ADA consortium members (the Australian National University, the University of Melbourne, the University of Queensland, the University of Technology, Sydney and the University of Western Australia), the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) and the Commonwealth of Australia shall not be held liable for any breach of the undertaking.
LSAY student achievement information cannot be reported at the school sector aggregate for the LSAY 2003 and 2006 cohorts.
Where research findings based on LSAY are published, or otherwise placed in the public arena, the user must agree to provide the Australian Data Archive and the National Centre for Vocational Education Research with the bibliographic details and, where available, online links to any published work (including journal articles, books or book chapters, conference presentations, theses or any other publications or outputs) based wholly or in part on the material.