At ODISSEI, we are committed to continually enhancing access to microdata from CBS, and we strive to optimize our initiatives for the benefit of the research community. Today, we share important updates regarding our Microdata Access Discount (MAD) program, one of our flagship initiatives.
Over the years, the MAD program has successfully supported numerous compelling projects, contributing to the expansion of microdata access. However, the program’s success has also presented challenges, with an increasing number of projects and a fixed budget leading to a gradual decrease in average discount rates.
After careful evaluation and extensive consultations with the research community, the ODISSEI Management Board has made the decision to discontinue the MAD program, effective at the end of December 2023. We want to assure you that this change does not diminish our commitment to widening access to microdata.
To ensure continued progress, ODISSEI and CBS have already taken steps to enhance the infrastructure supporting microdata access. CBS has acquired new servers and transitioned to VMWare, providing a more stable analysis environment. The ODISSEI Portal, a key tool for researchers, has expanded its functionalities, and efforts in automatic output control are underway.
The budget previously allocated to the MAD program will be redirected to accelerate improvements in Microdata Services and expand access through alternative avenues. Starting in 2024, ODISSEI and CBS will expand Microdata Access Grant (MAG) programe and will hold two application rounds each year. This initiative aims to provide more extensive and rapid access to microdata for new researchers. Furthermore, we are exploring the addition of extra storage facilities for projects generating large databases.
In our commitment to user satisfaction, we will invest in improving the overall user experience. This includes the automation of the microdata project application process, the implementation of user authentication and authorization, and expanded support for legal requirements, ensuring compliance with the GDPR. These measures are designed to simplify procedures for both experienced and non-experienced users.
These changes are expected to increase efficiencies in the medium term, with the planned investments ultimately benefiting the entire research community. ODISSEI is constantly looking for ways to improve the facilities we offer even further, and we are open to feedback from our community. Any suggestions for further improvements in the CBS Research Access can be shared with Kasia Karpinska, ODISSEI Scientific Manager, via email@example.com.