Dec 9, 2012

Important note about using the RECODE or COMPUTE online analysis features for TEDS-A, Concatenated 1992-2009

This FAQ applies to data users who are creating new variables using the RECODE or COMPUTE functions in the SAMHDA online analysis system (SDA). Due to the large number of cases involved in the TEDS-A Concatenated dataset, it takes the system up to 30 minutes for SDA to complete a RECODE or COMPUTE command. Therefore, it is recommended that users wait for approximately 30 minutes between the creation of a new recoded variable and the analysis of the data on the SAMHDA online analysis system. The system (SDA) will use a new variable (created using RECODE or COMPUTE functions) in an analysis even before the variable is completely created. Thus, users are requested to pay close attention to analytic results that use a created variable to make sure that enough time has elapsed and the new variables have been completely created. When running either RECODE or COMPUTE, you may encounter one of the following: (1) the screen turns blank and the status indicator in your browser says "Done" or (2) the server "times out." If these problems occur, SDA will continue to process your request, although it may take 30 minutes or more to complete.

Oct 9, 2012

Who can download data from this archive?

Most of our data collections are sponsored by the federal government and are therefore freely available to the public. All users who agree to the terms and conditions of use are allowed to download data from our Web site. We also ask that you properly cite the data files in your published or presented work.

NACJD is part of the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), which is a member-based organization. Some ICPSR data collections may not be freely available to the public. ICPSR data collections are freely available to ICPSR member institutions. Such data collections require authorization before downloading. If you are not authorized to download a data collection, you can contact ICPSR User Support for assistance.

How can I use NACJD data with statistical packages?

Many NACJD data collections that contain ASCII data files are accompanied by data definition statement files that allow users to read the text files into statistical software packages. NACJD currently provides data definition statements for SAS and SPSS statistical software packages, two of the more commonly used analytical software packages for the social sciences, for many of its data collections.

NACJD can provide help with using data definition statements to read ASCII data files. Users can call our toll-free help line at 1-800-999-0960 or email us at for assistance. For on-line help, see the following help pages:

However, NACJD does not provide technical support for any software package. For information on how to analyze the data once you have read the file into a statistical package, the user should refer to the manual for that particular software. NACJD has compiled a list of suggested Web sites for additional help with software packages on the Statistical Resources page.

Aug 30, 2012

How can I obtain restricted HMCA Data?

Every data collection is examined by HMCA staff for confidentiality issues. Variables that pose a disclosure risk are restricted from general dissemination. Restricted variables are removed from the public-use datasets available on our Web site or are modified in a way that limits disclosure. For example, a variable that gives respondents' ages in single years may be recoded to five-year age groups and topcoded at 75 so that age 16 becomes age 15-19 and age 92 becomes 75+.

To obtain restricted variables in their original form, analysts must agree to the terms and conditions of a restricted data use agreement. These legally binding agreements place strict controls on who may access restricted data and how the data are used, stored, and conveyed.

If a data collection has any restricted data, that will be noted under "Access Notes" on its home page (e.g., To apply for the restricted data follow the link under "Access Notes."

May 11, 2012

Does ICPSR have people who can assist in the preparation of metadata?

Yes, ICPSR data processors convert metadata to DDI format as a routine part of data curation. If the depositor is interested in doing the markup to create DDI files, ICPSR staff can assist in this work. Please contact Sanda Ionescu at

Which of your data management plan examples are for NSF and which are for NIH?

ICPSR has sought to make best practice recommendations for creating a data management plan. In reviewing the NSF and NIH guidance, we have found that ICPSR’s analysis of the elements of a data management plans meets both NSF and NIH recommendations.

The DMP Tool contains a list of DMP elements for many funding agencies as well.

Can research data be copyrighted?

Research data cannot be copyrighted, although research instruments and databases can be. The argument behind copyright for databases is complicated, but it has to do with the possibility for creative expression in the organization of the database, along with any copyrightable software to run the database. But even when a database is copyrighted, the data in the database remain uncopyrightable.

The principal investigator’s university is generally considered to be the holder of the intellectual property rights for the data the PI generates.

Do you have recommendations for intellectual property language for proposals that are collaborative and involve two or more PIs at two or more institutions who will be generating data together?

The PIs should determine together how to assign intellectual property rights and should consult university counsel at their respective institutions on this matter.

Is videotaped data included as part of the data-sharing requirement? How do you protect the confidentiality of your participants?

ICPSR and other repositories accept video data for archiving. Typically, video data are protected by limiting the conditions for accessing the data. One way that ICPSR controls access to confidential data is by requiring that prospective data users complete a restricted-use data agreement, which is a contractual agreement between ICPSR and the principal investigators and their organizations specifying the terms of use of the data.

Should a researcher obtain permission from a data archive before naming it in a data management plan?

It is good practice to notify the designated repository of your intention to deposit data. The repository will want to determine whether the data fit within the substantive scope of its collection development policies. If the data are determined to be appropriate for the repository, you can request a letter to submit with the data management plan as part of a grant application.