Definition: Preliminary data

Statistical concept; Peer reviews

Some statistical agencies use the term "Preliminary data" to describe the first released version of a series and "Provisional data" to describe subsequent versions prior to final amendment. However, the two terms are often used interchangeably, though users in general should have no great problem in understanding that data labelled either "preliminary" or "provisional" are subject to revision provided this is clearly highlighted by the agency in the release.

Clearly informing the user that the data is subject to revision is more important than the term used to describe such data.
Source:
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 2004, "Some proposals for standard terminology relating to data presentation", paper presented to the OECD Short-term Economic Statistics Working Party (STESWP), 28-30 June 2004, Paris, 2004 [quoted in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), "Data and Metadata Reporting and Presentation Handbook", OECD, Paris, 2007]
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