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The University of Otago, Wellington (UOW) has its own remote access facility connected to Statistics New Zealand's Data Laboratory.

The UOW Data Lab was opened on 15 July 2016 with three computers able to be connected to the secure Stats NZ system. This was increased to six computers in December 2016 and in November 2018 it has been expanded to ultimately house 17 computers able to be linked to Stats NZ.

What is the Statistics NZ Data Laboratory?

Statistics New Zealand provides access to microdata (data about specific people, households, or businesses) to support research that is in the public interest.

Access to microdata is carefully managed to protect confidentiality. No information about individual people, households, or businesses may be published or disseminated, and all information in the data lab has been de-identified.

You can only access Statistics NZ microdata in a secure Data Lab environment such as the data laboratories within Statistics NZ offices or approved research facilities including the one here at UOW. Within this environment you can run code, create datasets, store material and share this with other researchers working on your project, and access additional metadata. Computers in the Data Lab cannot access the internet or connect to printers.

See Stats NZ website for more information.

Data Lab contact

UOW contact June Atkinson

Statistics New Zealand

Data ethics

An important consideration when accessing microdata is the ethical implications of data use. Issues such as individual privacy and consent should be considered as well as the potential harm that data use may cause groups through discrimination and stigmatisation.

A preliminary Data Ethics Governance Workshop was held at University of Otago Wellington on 15 June 2017 led by Angela Ballantyne, Maria Stubbe and June Atkinson.

'Introduction to Data Ethics' Public Health Summer School course February 2018

One output from the Data Ethics Governance workshop has been to develop training courses on data ethics. The first course was held as part of the University of Otago (Wellington) Public Health Summer School on 13 February 2018. See Introduction to Data Ethics for details.

Resources for 'Introduction to Data Ethics' February 2018

'Ethics of public and patient involvement in research: Governance, democracy and social justice' - Public Health Summer School course February 2019

This second course was run on Friday 15 February 2019 and built on the popular Introduction to Data Ethics held as part of the 2018 PHSS.

It provided a critical overview of current debates and ethical challenges regarding patient and public involvement in research (PPI), specifically in relation to biobanks and the sharing, linking and/or re-use of health-related information and data (both quantitative and qualitative). See Ethics of public and patient involvement in research course page for details.

We would like to thank all the participants and speakers for their attendance and participation, and we also benefited hugely from the lively discussions during the day. If you have an idea for a specific data ethics topic you would like covered in the 2020 PHSS please do be in touch with

Resources for 'Ethics of public and patient involvement in research' February 2019

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