By Committee on National Statistics, National Research Council

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Researchers could submit judgments from the overseeing IRB, demonstrating to the local IRB that a knowledgeable, respected body has approved confidentiality protections. Robert Willis noted that this is essentially the model that has been implemented successfully at HRS. Given the expanding role of data enclaves, it is likely that, along with auditing procedures developed by the National Center for Education Statistics, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the National Science Foundation, IRBs will for the foreseeable future continue to be the central mechanism for monitoring researchers’ access to data.

Two workshop presentations described policies and procedures used for the release of microdata. Alice Robbin provided an overview of results from a survey on the statistical disclosure limitation (SDL) practices used by government agencies and research organizations that distribute public-use microdata files with longitudinal, linked administrative, or contextual data for small areas. 1 Statistical Disclosure Limitation Practices Alice Robbin, Thomas Jabine, and Heather Koball conducted a survey of organizations that produce and distribute complex research microdata files.

It also summarizes the discussion of potential technical solutions and the use of legal sanctions to modify the behavior of individuals with access to the data. DATA ALTERATION There are both technical and statistical solutions for protecting data security. Several workshop participants argued that these solutions need to be blended with the substantive knowledge of researchers to solve disclosure problems in a way that satisfies all interested communities. This section reviews the discussion of statistical approaches, for which a presentation by Arthur Kennickell, titled “Multiple Imputation in the Survey of Consumer Finances,” was the centerpiece.

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