Details on Appraisal Critera

After identifying a dataset using the considerations listed above, ICPSR staff apply the following criteria to assess the dataset's priority for acquisition.

The following appraisal criteria are applied in a simultaneous fashion. Data are immediately approved for possible acquisition when there are no concerns that lower the priority of the acquisition. If there are one or more concerns reducing the priority-level of a data resource, ICPSR considers the potential benefits and costs associated with acquiring the data and acquires, in the short-term, only what it has the capacity to accept. Lower priority collections not acquired in the short-term are either deferred for possible acquisition by ICPSR at a later date or referred to another archive whenever possible.

Data Availability

  1. If a dataset is available at an alternative site at a reasonable cost and if there is confidence that availability will continue over time, ICPSR may lower the priority for acquiring a dataset.
  2. ICPSR may provide links to data available on the Internet as an alternative to physical possession of files, when long-term archival conservation will not be compromised.

Security, Privacy, and Confidentiality Considerations

  1. ICPSR requires that studies deposited in the archive meet recognized standards for privacy and confidentiality of subjects studied. (For information on these standards, see the University of Michigan's Human Subjects Protection Web page, specifically the section titled "Use of Human Subjects in Research.").
  2. ICPSR prefers to acquire data that can reside in the public domain.
  3. ICPSR requires that data intended for public use be formatted so that identifiers inadvertently included in the data can be removed using standard practices without reducing the research value of the original data.
  4. Any access limitations that ICPSR might apply to specific data collections (e.g., a requirement that restricted-use agreements must be signed) should be legally justified and manageable given ICPSR's resources, goals, and mission.

Copyright and other Legal Issues

  1. ICPSR prefers to acquire data for which it can be discerned who has explicit or implicit intellectual property rights to make a copy of the data available for public use through ICPSR.
  2. ICPSR requires that the person, or institution, that has explicit or implicit intellectual property rights to data being submitted to ICPSR agree to ICPSR's deposit terms.
  3. ICPSR requires the "owner" to grant permission for the data collection to be used by ICPSR for the following purposes:
    • To redisseminate copies of the data collection in a variety of media formats
    • To promote and advertise the data collection in any publicity (in any form) for ICPSR
    • To describe, catalog, validate and document the data collection
    • To store, translate, copy or re-format the data collection in any way to ensure its future preservation and accessibility
    • To incorporate metadata or documentation in the data collection into public access catalogues
    • To enhance, transform and/or rearrange to the data collection, including the data and metadata, for any of the following purposes: protect respondent confidentiality and/or improve use

Data Quality

  1. ICPSR strongly prefers data collections that have comprehensive technical documentation providing ample information on sampling procedures, weighting, recoding rules, skip patterns, constructed variables, and data collection procedures to allow users to assess the quality and analytical reliability of the data.
  2. ICPSR considers the acquisition of lower quality data if the data have unique historical value.
  3. ICPSR prefers data in the most complete and original form, with the exception of data extracts specifically intended for instructional purposes.

Data Format

  1. ICPSR prefers data in a readily useable format, accessible to members at a variety of computing and technological settings.
  2. ICPSR prefers data formats that promote easy access and use without compromising research value.
  3. ICPSR requires that data files deposited in a raw format be transformable or convertible into formats useable by a variety of statistical or analytical software.
  4. ICPSR prefers data files unaccompanied by value-added software.

Financial Considerations

  1. ICPSR prefers to obtain data at low or no cost; however, the value of the data to membership can outweigh acquisition and other expected costs that might be incurred in processing and preservation.
  2. ICPSR may acquire commercially produced data when they are available at reasonable cost to the membership.

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