Dec 4, 2008

How do I export to bibliographic management software?

This feature allows you to export a record from the ICPSR Bibliography of Data-related Literature. When you click on "Export citation" for a given record, you are able to save that citation in RIS format to EndNote, EndNote Web, Zotero, RefWorks, and other bibliographic management software:

Note: Zotero and EndNote both try to capture input from RIS files. To prevent Firefox/Zotero from automatically saving your exported citation, go into Zotero Preferences, and under Miscellaneous uncheck the box that says "Use Zotero for downloaded RIS/refer files."

Export to EndNote (application installed on your computer)

  1. Click Export citation to launch the export application.
  2. The system launches a dialog box.
  3. Select the bibliography to which you wish to save the citation. As soon as you do this, the record is exported.

Note on EndNote Limitations: When you export a citation with a corporate author (not individuals with first and last names), you must correct an error that EndNote makes in the citation record. It imports the corporate author with the comma in the wrong place.

Per EndNote:

Corporate authors are parsed as if they were the names of individuals. In such cases, one must move the comma to the end of the line, e.g.:
Center for Economic, Studies needs to be changed to Center for Economic Studies,

Export to EndNote Web (if you are a registered user, and signed in)

  1. Click Export citation to save the selected record to your library in EndNote Web. If you have not yet created a library, clicking this button automatically creates one for you.

Note: When using EndNote Web in a Mozilla Firefox browser, you may want to download an EndNote Web toolbar in Firefox to save online references directly into your library. See EndNote Web's Options/Download Installers for details.

Export to Zotero (if you have installed the Zotero extension to your Mozilla Firefox browser)

  1. Click Export citation.
  2. The record is exported to the Collection folder that is open in Zotero.

Export to RefWorks (if you are a registered user, and signed in)

  1. Click Export citation to save the selected record in RIS format to your desktop.
  2. In RefWorks, click the References menu and choose Import.
  3. From the pull-down Import Filter/Data Source menu, choose RIS Format.
  4. Click the Import Data from the following Text File toggle, and browse and choose the RIS file that you exported to your desktop.
  5. Click the Import button.
  6. To see the citation you imported, click View Last Imported Folder.

Oct 22, 2008

How do I find data at ICPSR?

If you know what you are looking for....

If you know the name of the dataset or study you are looking for, the best strategy is to type the name or a portion of the name in the search box that appears on every page on the ICPSR Web site. If searching on a two-word concept, remember to surround it with quotes.

If you know the topic area you are interested in ....

If you know you are interested in a general topic area such as aging or crime, you have several options:

  • Review the ICPSR topical archive list, found on the right hand side of ICPSR's front page. These special archives focus on a variety of topics including aging, crime, demography, and race and ethnicity. These archives have special search facilities to help you find appropriate datasets.

  • Consult the ICPSR Browse classifications. These categories will in general yield a large result set that you can then narrow.

  • Use the ICPSR Thesaurus. These are finer-grained controlled subject terms structured in a systematic way. Note that the subject terms in all study descriptions are also clickable, expanding the potential for more data discovery.

If you know where you want data from....

If you interested in a particular geographic location, see our interactive world map. Click on a country (or a US state in another map available on the site) to find a dataset from that region. You can refine your search once you find the list of datasets for your place of interest.

If you still don't know....

Use the many browse options on the Data Search and Browse guide to help you find data.

Why should I attend the ICPSR Summer Program?

The ICPSR Summer Program in Quantitative Methods of Social Research offers excellent opportunities for training in:

  • Research design
  • Data analysis
  • Statistical methods
  • Data management

Our curriculum ranges from lectures that introduce basic skills to advanced workshops covering new methodologies and cutting-edge techniques. The ICPSR Summer Program is reasonably priced, and fees are even lower if you are affiliated with an ICPSR member institution.

Course work in the Summer Program is grounded in a "hands-on" orientation and participants are encouraged to interact on a regular basis with instructors. Our faculty are not only accomplished social scientists, but are also dedicated teachers who make course material accessible and relevant to students.

The Summer Program provides a stimulating, diverse, and enjoyable environment for learning. In recent years, Program participants have come from about 24 different nations, and they have represented about 24 different academic disciplines. Along with classes and lectures, there are many social functions that provide opportunities for professional networking and making new friends. Summer Program participants not only work hard and learn a great deal-- they also have a lot of fun!

To learn more about what we offer, please consult the ICPSR Summer Program site.

Why should my institution join ICPSR?

ICPSR institutional memberships enable everyone at a member institution -- researchers, students, faculty, and staff - to access ICPSR's unique resources and services. ICPSR members receive:

  • On-demand access to over 7,000 original research studies, many with ready-to-go files for SPSS, SAS, and Stata, and with online analysis capabilities. Studies are fully processed and documented and are supplemented by ICPSR's popular bibliography that identifies journal articles and other publications, often in full text, based on the data.

  • Access to teaching tools supporting quantitative literacy in undergraduate education. ICPSR's Resources for Instructors assists teaching faculty in bringing data and analysis into the classroom.

  • Help in using data, both self-help via its Help Documentation and live help via email or telephone.

  • Discounted rates for ICPSR's renowned Summer Program in Quantitative Methods.

To learn more about joining ICPSR, please consult our Membership page.

Why should I deposit data with ICPSR?

Your data are a unique contribution to the social sciences and represent a significant investment of time and resources. ICPSR can help you protect that investment by managing and safeguarding your data at no cost to you. Specifically, ICPSR will:
  • Curate your data. Experienced data managers at ICPSR will review and enhance your study to ensure that it is optimally usable and meets community disclosure limitation standards. ICPSR staff will also create a rich study-level description so that others can discover your study easily and cite it, thus enhancing your research profile.
  • Preserve your data. With a 45-year track record in preserving social science data, ICPSR will make sure that your data are available far into the future.
  • Disseminate your data. Your data will be accessible to researchers around the world in all of the major statistical package formats. Data can also be made available through ICPSR's online analysis utility.
  • Support your data. ICPSR's User Support staff will answer user questions about the download and use of the data so that you have time to pursue new research. You may also request usage statistics for your data.
  • Offer levels of access if needed. In addition to handling public-use data, ICPSR also offers archival services for the most sensitive, confidential data, including restricted access data services and a secure data enclave.
  • Find publications based on your data. ICPSR will identify publications based on analyses of your data and link these publications to your study, creating a rich network of citations.
Depositing data with ICPSR is easy. Use the online deposit form to securely upload your data to ICPSR.

Sep 5, 2008

What is a DOI?

DOI stands for Digital Object Identifier (see The DOI System). A DOI is a unique persistent identifier for a published digital object, such as an article or a study. A DOI also links to an article or study. Here is an example of a citation for an ICPSR study with a DOI:

Deschenes, Elizabeth Piper, Susan Turner, and Joan Petersilia. INTENSIVE COMMUNITY SUPERVISION IN MINNESOTA, 1990-1992: A DUAL EXPERIMENT IN PRISON DIVERSION AND ENHANCED SUPERVISED RELEASE [Computer file]. ICPSR06849-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2000. doi:10.3886/ICPSR06849

The DOI in this example is 10.3886/ICPSR06849 and it links to the URL:

ICPSR maintains the DOI so that the link will always work. On most Web sites, when you see a DOI it is a clickable object.

If you're accessing an article, you'll probably be forwarded to a reference service like JStor or ProQuest, and if your campus has a subscription with that service, you should be able to access the full text. In other words, DOIs also have built-in OpenURL functionality.

DOIs are concise and easy to include in a citation. DOIs appear in the citations that we display on the ICPSR Web site and include with each download. If you publish an article using ICPSR data and you include the DOI in the data citation as one of your references, you make it easy for other researchers to get back to the original data.

DOIs are also part of an integrated network of linkages between articles and datasets that is maintained by publishers and archives through registration agencies like CrossRef. The inclusion of DOIs in citations makes it much easier for us to see how a report or dataset generates other research, which in turn assists researchers in demonstrating the value and scientific impact of their work.

How do I get a DOI for my survey?

DOIs are created/registered by publishing organizations, not by individuals. If you deposit your data with us, we'll assign a DOI for your study and it will appear in the citation on our Web site and in downloads.

How do I get a DOI for my report or article?

The journal/publisher of the article should assign the DOI. If your publisher isn't registering DOIs, you should encourage them to do so. The CrossRef Web site has useful information on how to get started.

How do I use DOIs?

Include them in your footnotes and references. Just copy and paste the citation, as you normally would, along with the DOI. By properly citing the data and including the DOI, you're giving proper credit to the investigators who conducted the research and giving the scholarly community a clearer picture of the impact of the research.

How do I demonstrate the impact of a study I've deposited with ICPSR?

The related literature link, available with each study, connects to a list of all the publications based upon your study that ICPSR has been able to find. DOIs enable us to harvest those citations more easily, because publishers submit these linkages to the DOI repositories, and we can capture them from there. If you want to help the process along (to build a complete list of citations), please:

  • Email us any citations to publications we've missed:
  • Include the DOI for the dataset whenever you publish articles about the data.
  • Educate other researchers about the power and utility of DOIs. The system works best when everyone uses it.
  • When writing reports, always cite the data. Encourage other researchers to cite the data as well.
  • Encourage journal editors to include citations to data and their DOIs, along with citations to publications.

Aug 22, 2008

What is a persistent URL?

A persistent URL is one that never changes. Persistent URLs are designed so that your bookmarks and links don't break when a Web site gets updated.

On the ICPSR Web site, our study descriptions now have persistent URLs. If you want to bookmark a study page or link to it from your Web site, you should bookmark/link the persistent URL. In most browsers, you can do this by right-clicking on the link. In the menu that appears, there will be an option to add it to your bookmarks.

Aug 8, 2008

Can I have a Trial ICPSR Membership?

ICPSR does not offer a trial membership for its members-only data and related resources. However, ICPSR hosts a number of archives and projects where the datasets and accompanying resources are publicly available, and technically, access to these resources mimics access to ICPSR's members-only general archive.

To experience ICPSR functionality, an individual must first establish a MyData account. Creating a MyData account enables the individual to download data and/or access online analysis (where available) held within the publicly available collections. Individuals who would like to learn more about creating an account can view the online tutorial titled "Creating and Using a MyData Account" located in on our YouTube channel.

May 5, 2008

How can I use your data with GIS software, such as ArcView or MapInfo?

The National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD) has prepared a detailed tutorial on how to use ICPSR data with GIS software. Please consult this tutorial for more information.

Mar 18, 2008

How do I validate my MyData account? What does validation do exactly?

Access to ICPSR data used to be restricted to campus IP addresses (for ICPSR member institutions). In other words, most ICPSR data could only be downloaded from a campus computer. In July 2007, we revised our access system so that you validate your MyData account once every six months, and then you can download ICPSR data from anywhere. This change was made to enable access from home and while traveling.

How do you validate your MyData account? Just log on to the ICPSR site with your MyData account from any campus computer. It automatically validates your account. In fact, every time you log in from a campus computer, it re-validates your account for another six months.

If you're unable to validate your MyData account, it means one of the following:

  1. Your campus has not provided us with the IP range for your school's computers, or the ranges we have are out-of-date. Contact your school's official representative and ask him/her to provide us with the information.

  2. You're not on campus. Sorry, but you have to validate from on campus.

  3. Your school isn't part of the consortium.

If you can't validate the account yourself, for whatever reason, please contact your school's official representative (OR) and ask him/her to assist you. You can also contact ICPSR's User Support (, but we will need to contact your OR to verify that you're at the school.

Jan 8, 2008

Why is it that when I try to print pages containing data tables with shaded cells, the shading does not appear on the printed page?

In Internet Explorer, an option called "Print background colors and images" affects page backgrounds and table cell shading. If this option is turned off, shaded table cells will print as if they have no shading. To turn this option on, click on the "Tools" menu, then on "Internet options", then on the "Advanced" tab, then scroll down to find the "Printing" heading (it has a small printer icon on the left), and check or uncheck the "Print background colors and images" box.