Application for a user licence and changes to licences 

A licence to use statistical data must be applied for micro data. If the data material is extended, users are added, the user's organisation changes or a continuation is needed or if the place of use of the data changes from Finland to abroad, a change must be applied for the user licence.

The licence to use data is subject to a charge. The applicant is also charged for the costs of the data or formation of the data. Remote use is also chargeable.  

Who can apply for a user licence?

The applicant for licence to use statistical data is an organisation and a named person, for example, the researcher responsible for the research. Applications may also be filed by an individual researcher. Data collected by Statistics Finland for statistical purposes may be released for purposes of scientific research and statistical surveys.

If a user licence is applied for alone, the user must have access to remote access through some organisation if the data are used in remote access use. A user licence can also be applied for a thesis, but the licence is subject to a charge.

Application process

1. Explore the data selection of the Research Services.

2. Apply for a user licence in Statistics Finland's licensing service.

Fill in the application carefully so that your application can be processed without supplementing it. All data files the application concerns must be listed in the application. More detailed instructions for filling in the application for licence can be found below in the section on filling in an application for licence to use statistical data.

Do not send personal identifiers appended to the application. The person processing the application gives instructions on how to submit personal identifiers and your own data once the licence has been accepted.

3. When the application arrives at Statistics Finland, we carry out an initial inspection of the application.

In the initial inspection, we check the application and its appendices. We will return your application to the licensing service for supplementing if further information or attachments are needed. The application is ready for the processing queue and it will receive the “application complete” date after it has been initially inspected.

With regard to the fluency of processing, please respond to any requests for complementary information and any other contacting related to the processing of the applications as soon as possible, within two weeks of receiving the message at the latest. 

The Research Services have several different processing queues with differing average waiting times. The processing queue of an application is determined based on the data file you are applying for. The placement of an application in the processing queue is determined based on the “application complete” date. 

4. When an application comes in for processing, the processor of the application finds out whether the data file can be formed and whether it can be released for research use.

When the processing of an application starts, the processor is in contact with the researcher. As the processing advances, the processor instructs the applicant to submit files containing personal identity codes, for example. 

The time of processing depends on the extent and complexity of the data used in the research project. In simpler cases, such as in applications for ready-made and cause of death data, the processing of a user licence takes one to two weeks. Tailoring is more complex and will take longer to process. In more demanding cases several months must be reserved for processing. In demanding cases the application for a user licence may be referred to the Board of Statistical Ethics. The Board meets approximately once a month.

5. We notify by email when a user licence has been granted. 

6. We conclude an agreement with the researcher about the research service. 

The agreement specifies the delivery mode of the data, the timetable and the content and price of the service. The timetable and price depend on the content of the service. The delivery modes are data use through the FIONA remote access system, data use at the Research Laboratory and in certain cases release of data to the researcher or to the Findata remote access system. The agreement will enter into force once both parties have signed it.

7. We form the data file at Statistics Finland and deliver it as agreed to the researcher.

The data become available to customers in the simplest cases in one to two weeks, in the most complicated cases in months. If data from other authorities are also delivered to the Fiona remote access system, the data are pseudonymised at Statistics Finland and transferred to the remote access system.

8. We send an invoice for the user licence, data and remote access use as agreed. 

Filling in the application for licence to use statistical data

Below are instructions for filling in a user licence application when it is a question of the project's first licence, extension of an existing licence, change in the researcher group, extension of the licence or changing of the place of use from Finland to abroad.

If you are applying for the first user licence or new data files, select all Statistics Finland's new data to be added as products from the catalogue and describe all new data other than Statistics Finland's data on the application form.  A user licence is granted only for the data mentioned in the application. For example, the data mentioned only in the research plan are not taken into account.

First user licence for a research project

Type of application: extension of user licence. A change is sought for a licence that has already been granted. The change may concern Statistics Finland’s new data or new selection years of data according to a granted licence, the need to attach new data from other authorities or to extend the intended use (e.g. a new sub-project). Describe in the application as precisely as possible the new data to be added to the data. 

In case of the first licence for a research project, the application for licence to use statistical data must contain the following information:

  • Licence applicant’s details. The applicant and controller of a user licence can be a public authority, an institute or an individual researcher. The user licence is always granted to a certain person or persons, even if the applicant is a public authority or institute. 
  • Names of persons who will be processing the data. The user licence application of the research project must name every person who will process the data.  
  • Intended use of the data. The licence applicant must specify in sufficient detail the purpose for which the data will be used. 
  • Estimated duration of use of the data file. A user licence can be applied at one go for a maximum of five years.

Appendices required for the application: 

  • Summary of the research plan or the plan of a statistical survey in case of a data application, not compulsory in other applications. 
  • Pledges of secrecy if not previously delivered. Each data user must submit a pledge of secrecy in Statistics Finland's licensing service.

Where necessary, the following appendices must also be attached to the application:   

  • Data protection description (register description) must be submitted always when the intended use of the data file is a released data file, i.e. the data file is released with direct identifiers or when register data are planned to be linked to a survey. 
  • Licence of the target population when the data selection is made for the target population submitted by the applicant, or the target population’s personal identity codes have been obtained elsewhere than from Statistics Finland. 
  • Licences of other authorities when unit-level data from other authorities are transferred to remote access use. 
  • Free-form organisation-level account of the use and processing of the data file abroad must be submitted whenever the method of using the data is released data and the data are used in some foreign organisation.  
  • Model for an information/consent form of the research subject must be submitted for viewing when Statistics Finland’s data are planned to be combined to survey data. 
  • A data protection impact assessment (DPIA) must be submitted whenever requests are made for extensive data on criminal convictions and offences and data belonging to specific categories of personal data, such as health data. The DPIA must also be submitted when the above-mentioned data are combined with Statistics Finland's data.

If data from sources other than Statistics Finland are also used in the research, they should be described as accurately as possible. The combining of external data with Statistics Finland's data always takes place at Statistics Finland within the framework of the Statistics Act. If the results of the inquiry are to be combined with Statistics Finland's data, data suppliers should be informed of this already at the data collection stage. 

Changes to an existing user licence

You can apply for extension of data, addition of a user, continuation or change of the use location from Finland to abroad with the same application at one time. The previous decision’s reference number/case number must always be added to the application. 
Fill in the application in Statistics Finland's licencing service. 

If you apply only for continuation and/or user changes, select “only continuation and/or user change” from the licensing service's data catalogue.

Extension of data

A change is sought for a licence that has already been granted. The change may include adding new Statistics Finland's or other authority's data to the project data set, extending  the selection of data already granted by an earlier user licence to new selection years or extension of the purpose of use (e.g. a new sub-project).

Submit appended to the application: 

  • An up-to-date research plan that shows the need for new data. 
  • Where relevant, a data protection impact assessment DPIA
  • If necessary, a data protection description 
  • Licences of other authorities when new unit-level data from other authorities are transferred to remote access use

Change in the researcher group

When there is a change to the users of an already granted licence, e.g. a new user, the user's organisation changes or the person responsible for the project changes. 

Submit appended to the application: 

  • Licence of another authority if the project is a FIONA remote access project and contains material from another authority

Make sure that the new users will submit:

  • A pledge of secrecy if not submitted earlier
  • A remote access commitment if your project is a FIONA remote access project

Continuation of licence

Application for additional time to a granted licence.

Submit appended to the application:

  • Licence of another authority if the project is a FIONA remote access project and contains material from another authority

Change of location of use from Finland to abroad 

If one of the project researchers is moving abroad to use the data, the user licence must be updated. For use from abroad, the research project must be connected with a Finnish organisation in FIONA remote access projects. Remote access is established with a secure connection (e.g. VPN) through the organisation that has made the agreement and the customer organisation is responsible for the remote work and remote connection of its employees.