Virtual Data Enclave (VDE)


Researchers apply for access to restricted-use data in the VDE through the ICPSR VDE data portal which is available from the study home page.

The online application requires:

  • Project information
  • Investigator's contact information
  • List of data files requested
  • A signed VDE Restricted Data Use Agreement
  • Data Security Plan
  • CV/résumé for each user that will access the VDE
  • IRB approval or exemption
  • Information about each research team member who will access the data in the VDE (i.e., user information)

Data Access via the Virtual Data Enclave (VDE): How does it work?

The VDE is a virtual machine launched from the researcher's own desktop but operating on a remote server, similar to remotely logging into another physical computer. The virtual machine is isolated from the user's physical desktop computer, restricting the user from downloading files or parts of files to their physical computer. The virtual machine is also restricted in its external access, preventing users from emailing, copying, or otherwise moving files outside of the secure environment, either accidentally or intentionally.

The VDE operates just like a standard Windows desktop and includes many of the most popular statistical analysis packages. All work with the quantitative data files can only be done within the VDE. The data files and software remain on an ICPSR server. Software packages available in the VDE include:

  • ArcGIS
  • Adobe Acrobat
  • Microsoft Office
  • SPSS
  • SAS
  • Stata
  • StatTransfer
  • SUDAAN (SAS-callable)
  • Emacs
  • Textpad
  • WinZip
  • R
  • HLM
  • MPlus
  • WinBugs