Announcement on CGSS Geographic Data Disclosure

 Since opening for academic use, Chinese General Social Survey (CGSS) has attracted wide attention from scholars in different fields of study, with a steady increase in the number of users. Some users requested access to specific names of counties (districts) and village/neighborhood committees where the survey was conducted, because the geographic information of subjects in the public data only disclosed information of provinces while the county (district) and village/neighborhood committee they belong to were only marked as different but not specified. With respect to the request, CGSS hereby announces:

CGSS keeps in strict confidence the names, geographical locations and zip codes of counties (districts) and neighborhood/village committees as required by relevant laws and scientific research ethics. We will not disclose any of this information to any individual or institution so as to protect privacy of our subjects and prevent any behavior that might cause damage to them, for example:

1. If the specific names of counties (districts) are disclosed, some users might rank these places according to different indexes and publicize the rankings. This will not only be unfair to those who rank at the bottom, but will also bring difficulties to subsequent CGSS surveys.

2. Considering that the neighborhood/village committees in the counties (districts) surveyed are highly concentrated in the sampling design of CGSS and that abundant personal and community variables are disclosed in the data, there’s a chance that the personal identity and community information of subjects might be recognized and exposed and their privacy might be violated if detailed geographic information below county (district) level is disclosed.

Thus, CGSS hereby announces that, according to the basic scientific research ethics, it decides not to disclose the names, geographic locations and zip codes of counties (districts), towns, subdistricts and neighborhood/village committees so as to protect the privacy of its subjects, guard them from any potential damage and prevent legal wrangles and other kinds of disputes.