Instructions for researchers

This page contains instructions related to the application process, use and data protection of data materials. Read the instructions and the rules of the Research Services carefully before starting a study.

You can contact the Research Services by email (

Before applying for a user licence

Applying for a user licence

Organisation agreement on remote access use and the user's remote access commitment

  • In order for a researcher to be able to work in the FIONA remote access system, the researcher’s organisation must conclude a remote access agreement with Statistics Finland. In connection with the processing of the user licence application, the Research Services supply the customer with an organisation agreement on remote access use for filling in.
  • When an organisation has an agreement on remote access use, each user must submit a remote access commitment in Statistics Finland's licensing service.

Processing of applications, research service agreement and formation of data

  • Take a look at the application processing process.
  • The processing times and the current queue situation can be found on the Research Services' home page. The queue situation concerns completed applications. 
  • The Research Services initially checks the application and, if necessary, requests additional information. The application is placed in the queue and receives the “application complete” date only when the necessary additional information has been supplied. The faster you reply to requests for additional information and other messages related to the application, the faster the application goes into the queue.
  • Once a user licence has been granted and, if necessary, a research service agreement has been made, the researcher's own or other authorities' data can be delivered to Statistics Finland by means of the browser service for data transfer.
  • When the data are completed, they are delivered either to FIONA remote access use or directly to the researcher. Remember to study the data protection of FIONA remote access use (PDF) and the data protection of released data (PDF).

Changes to the research project

FIONA remote access and exporting results from FIONA

The research project is completed or the user licence ends

What information can Statistics Finland give?

On the basis of the Statistics Act (280/2004), Statistics Finland may release or grant permission to use confidential data collected for statistical purposes from which the possibility of direct identification of a statistical unit (e.g. person, enterprise) has been removed.

By virtue of Section 19 of the Statistics Act (280/2004), data on age, gender, education, occupation and socio-economic group may also be released with identification data. Statistics Finland may release data on causes of death with identifiers based on the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999). 

Ensuring the data protection of research data  

Both Statistics Finland and researchers are responsible for the data protection of research data files.

The processing of personal data is guided by the General Data Protection Regulation (2016679) of the European Union and the supplementary national Data Protection Act (1050/2018). In addition, the use licence granted to a research project is subject to obligation of secrecy.

Statistics Finland is responsible for the data protection of the data files prior to their release for research use and for the data security of the remote access environment.

Researchers must ensure data protection during the research use of their data files and when publishing research outputs. When processing data files released for research use or working in a remote access environment, the researcher must ensure, in accordance with the obligation of secrecy, that the data are not revealed or released to parties that do not have a licence to use the data. According to the obligation of secrecy, the researcher must ensure that the research results do not contain unit-level data, that is, data concerning an individual person or enterprise, or the possibility of their disclosure. The researchers are responsible for the implementation of data protection in the research results they publish. Please see more detailed guidance for researchers on the processing of personal data.

The Office of the Data Protection Ombudsman has published guidelines on the processing of personal data in scientific research: Scientific research and data protection.

Licence holder as a controller

When Statistics Finland releases data or cause of death data by virtue of Section 19 of the Statistics Act, the recipient of the data becomes a controller of personal data. Moreover, granting the applicant access to indirectly identifiable personal data actually constitutes release of personal data. The licence holder thus becomes a controller of data that is responsible for fulfilling the obligations set in the general and special legislation concerning the processing of personal data.