Data and statistics

We have a vision for data – that data is systematically used to improve decision making, saving time, money and lives.

The Digital Strategy for Scotland (March 2021) sets out a number of commitments on data. It highlights the transformational role that data can play in increasing transparency, empowering communities, transforming products and services, fuelling innovation and improving outcomes.

Open data

Open access to many of Scotland’s Official statistics is available online at, for free and without restrictions. This data infrastructure is used by Official Statistics producers from public bodies across Scotland to disseminate the information that they create. It contains around 300 open datasets at the highest level of openness, as well as other reference material. This is one of a number of public sector open data portals in Scotland.

Scotland has committed to a third Open Government action plan, covering 2021 to 2025.  Within this, there is a commitment called 'Supporting Government openness, transparency and empowerment through open data'.

Geographic information service

Geographic, or spatial information is any physical, map-based, address and text-based data that can be used to describe and characterise places in Scotland and the people who live there.

The geographic information service is working to develop a more systematic and effective approach to using geographic information in the development and delivery of policy and services to the benefit of the people of Scotland.

The Metadata Portal is Scotland’s catalogue of spatial data. Here you can find, share and reuse spatial data provided by Scottish public sector organisations.

The Scottish Remote Sensing Portal contains public sector LiDAR data that can be access via webservices or download and is free at the point of use.

Data linkage

Data linkage is the process of joining two or more datasets for research purposes. It allows for the true value of our existing data to be realised.

Data driven innovation has the potential to deliver significant improvements to people’s wellbeing, and deliver efficiencies for organisations. Our ambition is to create the environment across Scotland for this to happen.

We aim to maximise the potential of administrative data as a resource for high-quality research. We are transforming our model for data linkage to make it quicker and more efficient for researchers seeking to access and analyse linked data. By linking data together we can conduct research that helps address complex social and environmental challenges and fill vital evidence gaps for policy and decision makers.

We are a partner in Administrative Data Research UK (ADR UK) which brings together a UK-wide network of government and academic experts, driven by substantial investment from ESRC/UKRI.

ADR Scotland is a partnership combining specialists in Scottish Government’s Data for Research Unit with the expertise of academic researchers at the Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research. Together we are transforming how public sector data in Scotland is curated and accessed, in order to provide evidence-based insights for policy, practice and public benefit.

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