Recommendation on Quality Description
All OSF statistics must be accompanied by a quality description.
The quality description should be a concise assessment of the
quality, reliability and suitability of the statistics for
different purposes. Its central objective is to show how the OSF
quality criteria are fulfilled in the statistics in question.
This recommendation for a quality description was approved at a
meeting of the Advisory Board of Official Statistics of Finland on
25 January 2007. It will be reviewed against feedback from
Publication of quality description and referring to it
A quality description is published at the same time as the
statistics concerned, so that the users of the statistics have easy
access to it. The quality description is posted on the publisher's
website and the web address of the description is given in all
publishing formats of the statistics. The quality description can
also be published as part of a printed publication.
The quality description always relates to statistical data
released at a certain point of time. Different versions of the
quality description will be stored.
Where necessary, the quality description can refer:
- To a separate text in a printed publication, such as the
conceptual part of a statistical publication, or to a separate
publication, such as a handbook or methodological description.
- To the Concepts Database or other electronic accounts from
which the users of the statistics can find the data that are too
extensive to be presented in the quality description.
- To a separate publication, such as a handbook that focuses
entirely on the description of a certain statistical, benefit or
In compilation publications of several different statistics,
reference can be made to the quality description by table or data
group. If included are both OSF statistics and other statistics,
OSF statistics and their quality descriptions can be indicated with
the OSF symbol in, for example, source references.
Contents of a quality description
- Name of the producer of the statistics.
- Grounds for the compiling of the
statistics: References are made to the possible
acts, decrees and recommendations on which the compilation of the
statistics is based.
- Funding basis of the
statistics: The financing of the production of
the statistics is specified, especially from the standpoint of the
continuity of the production of the statistics.
1. Relevance of statistical information
- A summary of the information content and purpose of use of the
statistics. The national comprehensiveness of the data is
- An introduction to the concepts essential for understanding the
statistics, and the used classifications, research subject and data
- An account of how the users' perspective is taken into
consideration in the development of the statistics.
2. Accuracy and reliability of data
- A proof that the statistics measure the phenomenon they are
supposed to measure.
- An account of the research method of the statistics, that is,
the population, used basic data, survey design (census or sample
survey), (sampling design), data collection method, estimation
methods and use of weighting coefficients in sample surveys.
- An account of the issues that can influence the reliability of
the statistics. In addition, the main elements that may cause
uncertainty, that is, possible sources of error (e.g. non-response
or undercoverage), should be reported. Where necessary, parameters
related to survey quality are tabulated for estimates by main
classifications. For example, in sample surveys they should contain
estimates of design-based standard errors and/or confidence
intervals, and design effects.
- Descriptions of revision practices and procedures for
correcting errors in the statistics.
3. Timeliness and promptness of data
- The release frequency and measurement period of the statistics
- A notification is given about whether the data are preliminary
or final. Where the statistics are first published as preliminary
data, the time when the final data will be available is
- If the data may become revised in future due to, for example,
seasonal adjustment the probability of change must be made explicit
to the users of the data.
- The web address where the release calendar can be found is
4. Coherence and comparability of data
- The uniformity and coherence of the statistics are assessed
relative to other statistics on the same topic. The used general
classifications and concepts are identified and reasons are given
if they are not used.
- Information is given about the temporal comparability of the
statistics and their comparability with other data. The lengths of
the available time series are given for the statistics from whose
data comparable time series have been produced.
5. Accessibility and clarity of data
- The publication channels of the statistics and the contact
details of the unit producing information services are stated. The
publication channels can comprise paper publication, online
database, set of html pages, CD-ROM, etc.
- Information is given on where the description, metadata, and
extensive quality and methodological descriptions of the statistics
can be found.
- Procedures concerning the release of microdata are
Last updated 14.5.2014
Official Statistics of Finland (OSF):
Recommendation on Quality Description
Helsinki: Advisory Board of OSF [Referred: 28.1.2015].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/meta/svt/laatuseloste_en.html.