Purpose | Subscription | Dimensions and monitorable elements | Transition Period | Metadata | Role of DSBB | Contact Addresses
The Special Data Dissemination Standard: Guide for Subscribers and Users is available (pdf) in English. It provides guidance on the observance of the Standard's various requirements. This Guide incorporates updates to the SDDS made by the IMF Executive Board in its reviews of the Standard since 1996. It replaces the May 1996 provisional document entitled Guide to the Data Dissemination Standards (Module 1: The Special Data Dissemination Standard). The new Guide also describes the concepts and methods to be used in the compilation and dissemination of the "data template on international reserves and foreign currency liquidity" and those on external debt, as set forth in two IMF publications: International Reserves and Foreign Currency Liquidity: Guidelines for a Data Template (2001) and the External Debt Statistics: Guide for Compilers and Users (2003). The data template on international reserves and foreign currency liquidity provides a comprehensive account of countries’ official foreign currency assets and drains on such resources arising from various foreign currency liabilities and commitments of the authorities.
Purpose: The Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS) was established by the International Monetary Fund (IMF/Fund)to guide members that have, or that might seek, access to international capital markets in the provision of their economic and financial data to the public. Both the General Data Dissemination System (GDDS) and the SDDS are expected to enhance the availability of timely and comprehensive statistics and therefore contribute to the pursuit of sound macroeconomic policies; the SDDS is also expected to contribute to the improved functioning of financial markets.
Subscription: Subscription to the SDDS was opened in early April 1996 by a letter from the IMF's Managing Director to all IMF Members and Governors. Although subscription is voluntary, it carries a commitment by a subscribing member to observe the standard and to provide certain information to the IMF about its practices in disseminating economic and financial data. A member country's subscription, which can be made at any time, is to be communicated in writing to the Secretary of the IMF. To date, there have been 68 subscriptions to the SDDS.
The dimensions and monitorable elements of the standard. The SDDS, in taking a comprehensive view of the dissemination of economic and financial data, identifies four dimensions of data dissemination:
- The data: coverage, periodicity, and timeliness;
- Access by the public;
- Integrity of the disseminated data; and
- Quality of the disseminated data.
For each of these dimensions, the SDDS prescribes two to four monitorable elements--good practices that can be observed, or monitored, by the users of statistics. The data dimension lists 18 data categories that provide coverage for the four sectors of the economy, and it prescribes the periodicity (or frequency) and timeliness with which data for these categories are to be disseminated. In recognition of differences in economic structures and institutional arrangements across countries, the SDDS provides flexibility. Certain categories are marked for dissemination on an "as relevant" basis. Further, some data categories or components of data categories are identified as encouraged rather than prescribed. With respect to periodicity and timeliness, a subscribing member may exercise certain flexibility options while being considered in full observance of the SDDS. The monitorable elements of the SDDS for access, integrity, and quality emphasize transparency in the compilation and dissemination of statistics.
The monitorable elements of the SDDS for access, integrity, and quality emphasize transparency in the compilation and dissemination of statistics.
- To support ready and equal access, the SDDS prescribes (a)advance dissemination of release calendars and (b) simultaneous release to all interested parties.
- To assist users in assessing the integrity of the data disseminated under the SDDS, the SDDS requires (a) the dissemination of the terms and conditions under which official statistics are produced and disseminated; (b) the identification of internal government access to data before release; (c) the identification of ministerial commentary on the occasion of statistical release; and (d) the provision of information about revision and advance notice of major changes in methodology.
- To assist users in assessing data quality, the SDDS requires (a) the dissemination of documentation on statistical methodology and (b) the dissemination of component detail, reconciliations with related data, and statistical frameworks that make possible cross-checks and checks of reasonableness.
Consistent with this comprehensive view of data dissemination, dissemination itself is broadly defined to include electronic dissemination in addition to the more traditional formats.
Transition period. A formal transition period for the implementation of the SDDS began with the opening of subscription in early April 1996 and ended on December 31, 1998. During this period, a member could subscribe to the SDDS even if its dissemination practices were not fully in line with the SDDS at that time. This period gave subscribers time to adjust their practices, according to a plan (referred to as a transition plan), to bring them into line with the standard. During the transition period, the IMF also elaborated more fully certain operational aspects and reviewed the content and procedures of the SDDS with a view to making any adjustments needed in the light of experience.
The Fifth Review of the Fund's Data Standards Initiatives, covering the SDDS, the GDDS, and the Data Quality Program, was considered by the IMF's Executive Board on July 9, 2003. The paper prepared for the Board discussion, the supplementary papers, and the results of the Board discussion, which are summarized in the Public Information Notice: IMF Executive Board Reviews Data Standards Initiatives can be accessed by clicking here. In summary, Directors:
- Concurred with the emphasis on consolidation in the period ahead and increased subscriptions to the SDDS and participation in the GDDS as well as the provision of TA to assist existing GDDS countries 'graduate' to the SDDS.
- Upon consideration of the Supplement on the Government Finance Statistics Manual 2001 "Adjusting the Special Data Dissemination Standard Requirements for the Fiscal Sector", adopted a targeted timeliness flexibility option for Central Government Operations if quarterly accrual-based General Government Operations data are disseminated with a one-quarter lag.
- Supported subscribers taking advantage of the possibility to provide additional metadata on the DSBB for the indicators used as operating targets.
- Reiterated their support for the Data Quality Program and the continued application of the Data Quality Assessment Framework when conducting the data module of Reports on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSC).
- Supported ongoing efforts of the Statistical Data and Metadata Exchange (SDMX) initiative to develop an open exchange system for the dissemination and exchange of statistical information on the Internet.
Metadata: A subscriber is expected to submit information about its data and its dissemination practices--its metadata--to the IMF for presentation on an electronic bulletin board. Subscribers' metadata are reviewed by the IMF for comprehensiveness and international comparability. The responsibility for the accuracy of the metadata, including timely updates, and for the economic and financial data underlying the metadata rests with the subscriber. In addition, subscribers are required to certify the accuracy of all metadata posted on the DSBB on a quarterly basis. Metadata certification is required three days after the end of the quarter.
The role of the bulletin board: The Dissemination Standards Bulletin Board (DSBB) is maintained by the IMF. SDDS metadata are useful in their own right, and their presentation on the DSBB facilitates monitoring of observance of the standard by IMF staff, the financial markets and other data users. As national summary data pages play a critical role in monitoring observance of the SDDS by the IMF staff, the Executive Board of the IMF decided in December 1998 to make hyperlinks to national summary data pages mandatory. The DSBB provides hyperlinks between the SDDS metadata and actual country data shown in a National Summary Data Page (NSDP) for all subscribers. A complete list of NSDPs can be accessed by clicking here.
A member's presence on the DSBB as a subscriber to the SDDS indicates its intention to observe certain tenets of good statistical citizenship. After the transition, serious and persistent nonobservance of the SDDS, therefore, will be cause for action. Procedures to be followed in instances of such nonobservance have been approved by the Executive Board of the IMF and were re-examined in light of experience at the time of the Fourth Review of the SDDS at the end of July 2001.
Contact addresses. The Data Dissemination Standards Division of the Statistics Department is the contact point within the IMF for cooperation with members in work on the SDDS (email@example.com).