SDMX provides a meta model for describing data in any statistical domain.
The origins of the SDMX Information Model can be traced directly back to the model for the Generic Statistical Message (GESMES) which is a UN/EDIFACT standard, but in reality the core of the model is an evolution over time dating back to the 1970's. Following the launch of SDMX in 2001 this model has been enhanced significantly and is implemented fully in XML (SDMX-ML) and specific parts of it in UN/EDIFACT (a sub set of the GESMES message supporting time series), and JSON (to support data dissemination over the web).
The SDMX initiative is sponsored by seven organisations:
Bank for International Settlements (BIS); European Central Bank (ECB); Eurostat; International Monetary Fund (IMF); Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD); World Bank.
Each sponsor organisation is responsible for collecting and disseminating data in each of their respective statistical data domains and communities. By standardising the format for data exchange and reference metadata exchange, each organisation can collect data from their respective communities and share information between themselves and other organisations.
The sharing of data is a particular goal of SDMX: collect once, share the data and metadata according to a common model, and reap the benefits of lower costs and minimising the lag between collecting the data and making it avalible for use and analysis.