Guide to Data Access Using the ICPSR Virtual Data Enclave (VDE)

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Why are NAHDAP data in the ICPSR VDE?

The National Addiction & HIV Data Archive Program (NAHDAP), funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), is hosted at the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR). NAHDAP data in the ICPSR Virtual Data Enclave (VDE) are restricted from general dissemination to protect the confidentiality of the individuals and/or organizations represented in the data. To access data in the VDE, a Restricted Data Use Agreement (RDUA) must be established between the University of Michigan and the researcher's institution.

How does it work?

A link to the online application is provided in the Access Notes of the online study description for the restricted-use dataset. Researchers interested in accessing the restricted-use data using the VDE must complete the online application. After the researcher creates an online project, the RDUA is sent by email to the researcher. The researcher returns the signed RDUA to NAHDAP by email. NOTE: Researchers on the same project but at different institutions must each provide a signed RDUA—one from each institution—because this agreement is a legal document with the researcher's institution, not the researcher him or herself.

Once a request is approved, researchers and their team members can download the required software client. Documentation will then be provided for them to become familiar with the VDE system.

When a researcher logs on to the VDE, a virtual machine is launched on the researcher's own desktop but operates from a server at ICPSR. The virtual machine is isolated from the researcher's physical desktop computer - users cannot download or upload files or parts of files from or to the VDE; print VDE contents to a printer; or email, copy, or otherwise move files in or out of the VDE computing environment, either accidentally or intentionally.

For the researcher, the VDE operates just like a standard Windows desktop. All work with the study files can only be done within the VDE. Data files and software remain on the ICPSR server. Software tools and support available for use within the VDE include:

  • Geospatial Analysis Tools
    • ArcGIS
    • GeoDa
    • SpatialEcology
  • Statistical Analysis Tools
    • DimPack
    • HLM
    • IRTPRO
    • JAGS
    • MPlus
    • R for Windows
    • RStudio
    • SAS
    • SPSS
    • Stata
    • StatTransfer
    • SUDAAN
    • WinBUGS
  • Documentation Support
    • Adobe Acrobat
    • GNU Emacs
    • Textpad
    • Microsoft Office