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Purpose: The purpose of this standard is to specify the documentation that must be readily accessible to the public to ensure transparency and reproducibility in information products released by the Census Bureau.
The documentation required by this standard aims to provide sufficient transparency into the Census Bureau’s information products so that qualified users can reproduce the estimates and results in the products. However, federal law (e.g., Title 13, Title 15, and Title 26) and Census Bureau policies require safeguarding the confidentiality of protected information or administratively restricted information. Therefore, complete transparency and reproducibility may not always be possible. At a minimum, the documentation will allow users to assess the accuracy and reliability of the estimates and results in the Census Bureau’s information products.
Note: Statistical Quality Standard F1, Releasing Information Products, addresses the required documentation and metadata to describe any serious data quality problems and the likely effects of the problems on the data and estimates in the Census Bureau’s information products.
Scope: The Census Bureau’s statistical quality standards apply to all information products released by the Census Bureau and the activities that generate those products, including products released to the public, sponsors, joint partners, or other customers. All Census Bureau employees and Special Sworn Status individuals must comply with these standards; this includes contractors and other individuals who receive Census Bureau funding to develop and release Census Bureau information products.
The global exclusions to the standards are listed in the Preface. No additional exclusions apply to this standard.
Requirement F2-1: Documentation that would breach the confidentiality of protected information or administratively restricted information or that would violate data-use agreements with other agencies must not be released. (See Statistical Quality Standard S1, Protecting Confidentiality.)
Requirement F2-2: Documentation must be readily accessible in sufficient detail to allow qualified users to understand and analyze the information and to reproduce (within the constraints of confidentiality requirements) and evaluate the results. The documentation must be made readily accessible by doing one or more of the following:
Note:The Census Bureau Geospatial Product Metadata Standard (GPMS), and the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata (CSDGM) provide additional requirements for geospatial products.
Sub-Requirement F2-2.1: Descriptions of the data program must be readily accessible.
Examples of information that describes the data program include:
Sub-Requirement F2-2.2: Descriptions of the concepts, variables, and classifications that underlie the data must be readily accessible.
Examples of concepts, variables, and classifications that underlie the data include:
Sub-Requirement F2-2.3: Descriptions of the methodology, including the methods used to collect and process the data and to produce estimates, must be readily accessible.
Examples of documentation of the methodology include:
Sub-Requirement F2-2.3.1: Measures and indicators of the quality of the data must be readily accessible.
Examples of measures and indicators of the quality of the data include:
Note: Statistical Quality Standard D3, Producing Measures and Indicators of Nonsampling Error, contains requirements on producing measures and indicators of nonsampling error.
Sub-Requirement F2-2.3.2: The methodology and results of evaluations or studies of the quality of the data must be readily accessible.
Examples of evaluations or studies of the quality of the data include:
Note: Results of routine reviews and verifications need not be readily accessible unless needed for data users to assess the quality of the information product.
Sub-Requirement F2-2.4: Documentation of public-use data files must be readily accessible in sufficient detail to allow a qualified user to understand and work with the files.
Examples of documentation of public-use data files include: