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(b) Structural metadata should be presented as an integral part of the database and be published as part of statistical tables (e.g., in the form of flags or footnotes identifying differences in definitions, estimations and imputations, provisional values, confidentiality and break in the time series, etc.) by default, unless explicitly removed by the user. Reference metadata can be presented as a detailed explanatory note describing the scope, coverage and quality of a data set and can be made available electronically alongside the database or in special publications. In addition,compilers should make every effort to ensure that users have ready access to metadata through multiple dissemination channels, in both printed and electronic formats (in which Internet dissemination plays a key role), and be free of charge, regardless of whether the statistics they describe are disseminated for a fee in line with the compiling organization’s policies.[6] Any deviation from international standards (e.g., MSITS 2010, BPM6 or IRTS 2008) should be adequately explained to the user. Whenever feasible, it is good practice for compilers to disseminate metadata using standardized concepts that are relevant across statistical domains (e.g., by adopting cross-domain concepts from the SDMX framework, annex 4).


Next: C. Factors to consider in the dissemination of data and metadata compiled within the framework for describing the international supply of services

[1] The Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics are available from

[2] See Guidelines on Integrated Economic Statistics.

[3] See chapter 19 for more information on quality reporting.

[4] Also see chapter 18.

[5]See OECD, Data and Metadata Reporting and Presentation Handbook (Paris, OECD Publishing, 2007), p. 22.

[6] Ibid.