Policy on Co-distribution of ICPSR Member-Funded Data

ICPSR curates data intensively, checking for confidentiality concerns, data completeness, and consistency; adding metadata to enhance discoverability; generating new data formats to make it easier for users to access the data; and creating preservation versions of the data for long-term access.

The versions ICPSR distributes reflect significant labor and added value. For data deposited by individual investigators, these curation costs are borne by the ICPSR membership, and thus these studies are available to members only and cannot be redistributed.

Co-distribution Options

When ICPSR receives requests for a co-distribution arrangement for archived data collections and the request is consistent with ICPSR's mission, there are three main ways to proceed:

  1. The requesting institution can link to the processed version of the data by using the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) of the dataset. This has the advantage that potential users will receive the most up-to-date version of the data and documentation. They will also have access to all of the popular data formats (Stata, SPSS, SAS, TSV, R, ASCII) and can be sure that the data will be available and usable in the future. Note that this version of the data will be accessible only to users at member institutions or to those who pay an access fee for the data.
  2. The requesting institution can ask ICPSR to return the original data and documentation as deposited. Note that these data will be returned as is and will not have been reviewed for disclosure risk or curated for long-term access. Also, this means that different versions of the data will be circulating, leading to possible outdated content and confusion. In order to return the data and documentation, ICPSR will need to receive authorization for this action from the principal investigator or the principal investigator's university.
  3. The requesting institution can pay a fee to enable co-distribution of the processed version of the data and documentation. The fee covers the cost of data processing originally paid by the membership. This option enables both the requesting institution and ICPSR to distribute the data freely to anyone. ICPSR will need to receive authorization for this action from the principal investigator or the principal investigator's university.

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