1. SRS Metadata Catalogue

The Secure Research Service (SRS) Metadata Catalogue is an interactive way for you to discover what data are available for research in the SRS. You can search the catalogue by name or keyword to identify and retrieve relevant datasets and their descriptive metadata which includes its periodicity, frequency and spatial coverage, as well as a high-level description. You can also now search for specific words within the variable names and descriptions for most datasets. This allows you to assess whether the dataset will meet your research needs before becoming an accredited researcher or submitting a project application.

The SRS Metadata Catalogue was launched in cooperation with our partners, ADR UK and Metadataworks. We welcome any feedback so please contact SRS.data.management@ons.gov.uk or complete the feedback form.

Access the SRS Metadata Catalogue

Citing data in the SRS Metadata Catalogue

Digital Object Identifiers (DOI) are now available for the Secure Research Service (SRS) Metadata Catalogue. You can add the DOI to your data citation in any published work from your research - from published papers and reports to pieces in the media, social media and wider internet. Those writing about or promoting data can also cite the DOI, so that mentions can be picked up for impact tracking.

Help on using our DOIs and catalogue can be found in Frequently Asked Questions.

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2. Data refresh 'arrivals board'

Our new data refresh ‘arrivals board’ will provide a monthly update on when data is being refreshed, alongside an expected date for any delayed deliveries. We will endeavour to provide timely updates for all data refreshes, and give as much information as we can about any delayed items.

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3. Matching

Researchers can match together different datasets they have access to in their Secure Research Service (SRS) project using common variables (for example, Local Authority, Occupation codes).

Where data have been provided with an operational ID, we will pseudonymise it (transform it into a mix of numbers and letters) to become an Office for National Statistics (ONS) ID that is meaningless outside the SRS environment. The ONS ID enables the researcher to match tables within the SRS environment. An example of an operational ID that has been pseudonymised is the "entref" variable, which is included in many of the business datasets held in the SRS.

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4. Linking

For research projects accredited under the Digital Economy Act 2017, researchers are unable to link datasets in the Secure Research Service (SRS) based on direct identifiers (such as name, address, date of birth or operational IDs, such as an NHS number) as all data are de-identified before they come into the environment.

We do not offer a service to link datasets using direct identifiers on a project-by-project basis, as it would be an inefficient use of the specialist resources required to do the work. The only exception is for Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR) data.

We will assess a number of factors before any proposed linkage work can progress. These factors include:

  • strength of user need
  • support from all data owners
  • feasibility and level of complexity of the linkage
  • quality of the source data
  • resource required within the ONS to carry out the linkage

If a request is agreed, we will create the linked dataset internally (outside of the SRS) and then transfer the de-identified version to the SRS so that all accredited researchers are able to make a project application to use it.

Researchers wanting to make a request for a linked dataset should contact by email at adrcuration@ons.gov.uk to discuss their requirements. If linkage is not achievable because of the feasibility of the linkage and/or timescales required, then researchers may seek alternative datasets that are currently available in the SRS and listed on the data catalogue.

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5. Inter-Departmental Business Register

If you need to identify a specific subset of businesses within datasets held in the Secure Research Service (SRS) and/or match data in the SRS to data you already hold for a subset of businesses, this can be using either Companies House Reference Number (CRN), or business names and addresses.

This linkage work needs to be carried out by the ONS' Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR) team who operate separately to the SRS. There is a charge for this service. Researchers wanting to make a request for a business-linked dataset should contact idbrdas@ons.gov.uk to discuss their requirement. If this service is required, researchers will need to confirm they are happy to proceed with their project on this basis. Researchers must be willing to pay for the matching work based on the cost provided by the ONS before the application is submitted to the Research Accreditation Panel for approval.

If you require one of these services, this should be clearly specified in the linkage section of your project application. For either method, the results will be de-identified before being made available to you in your project.

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6. Using longitudinal educational outcomes (LEO) datasets or 2011 Census linked to 2011 to 2016 benefits datasets

If you are looking to use either the LEO or 2011 Census linked to 2011 to 2016 benefits data datasets, you are required to complete the relevant variable request form and attach it alongside your application on the Research Accreditation Service (RAS) to specify the data tables or variables that are required for the project. This is required to support the technical handling of any approved variables.

To use the LEO dataset, complete the LEO I2SE variable request form.

To use the 2011 Census linked to 2011 to 2016 Benefits data dataset, complete the 2011 Census linked to Benefits and Income variable request form.

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7. Contact details

You can contact the Secure Research Service (SRS) Customer Support team for more information by email srs.customer.support@ons.gov.uk.

If you require initial log on credentials or a password reset, please contact by telephone on +44 1329 447871 between the hours of 9am and 11am and 1pm and 3pm.

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