Eurostat's Concepts and Definitions Database


Term extension
Statistical concept
Length of time between data availability and the event or phenomenon they describe.
Timeliness refers to the speed of data availability, whether for dissemination or for further processing, and it is measured with respect to the time lag between the end of the reference period and the release of data. Timeliness is a crucial element of data quality: adequate timeliness corresponds to a situation where policy-makers can take informed decisions in time for achieving the targeted results. In quality assessment, timeliness is often associated with punctuality, which refers to the time lag between the release date of data and the target date announced in some official release calendar.

Timeliness can be further broken down into "Timeliness - output" and "Timeliness - source data".

"Timeliness - output" refers to the the lapse of time between the end of a reference period (or a reference date) and the release of a version of the data: provisional, preliminary, or final results. This reflects many factors, including some that are related to institutional arrangements, such as the preparation of accompanying commentary and printing. Usually, data are not released immediately at the end of the period they refer to, since data collection, data processing and data dissemination work needs to be performed.

"Timeliness - source data" refers to the time between the end of a reference period (or a reference date) and actual receipt of the data by the compiling agency. Compared to the parent concept - timeliness - this concept only covers the time period between the end of the reference period and the receipt of the data by the data compiling agency. This time period is determined by factors such as delays accommodating the institutional arrangements for data transmission.
This concept was part of the SDMX Metadata Common Vocabulary (MCV), as published in SDMX Content-Oriented Guidelines (COG), annex 4 "Metadata Common Vocabulary", in 2009 ( In February 2016 the Metadata Common Vocabulary was replaced by the SDMX Glossary 2016.
SDMX Glossary 2016
Related terms
Term Term extension    
  • Timeliness – source data
  • Data and metadata exchange View
  • Time lag – final results
  • Data and metadata exchange View
  • Time lag – first results
  • Data and metadata exchange View
    Statistical theme(s)
  • General Statistical Terminology
  • Metadata
  • Other languages
    Term Term extension    
  • Aktualität (Zeitnähe
  • View (Deutsch)