How does ICPSR handle access to its data and members-only content?

In order to download data or analyze data online, users will need to log in (authenticate) and agree to terms of use.

Users may log in to ICPSR using their Facebook or Google account. They may also use an ICPSR MyData account if they prefer not to use third party authentication.

Benefits of Third Party Authentication

  • Users will not have to remember a separate login/password to access ICPSR data.
  • If users are logged into their Facebook or Google account and then go to ICPSR, they will already be logged into ICPSR.

Privacy Issues

  • Using a single identity to log into multiple websites allows users to establish a reputation on several sites with the same ID. However, that may make it easier for others (marketers, law-enforcers) to track them.
  • Users can choose to share personal information they've stored at the third party provider with ICPSR, in order to save the trouble of re-entering some basic profile information.
  • If a third party account gets hacked, the hackers would also be able to access that user's ICPSR account.
  • Third party authentication providers are able to track every site you use your third party account to log into.

Multiple Logins

A user may log into ICPSR using (for example) Facebook one session, Google another session, and MyData a third session. Doing so would create separate profiles in the ICPSR system if the third party accounts are associated with different email addresses.


MyData is a user registration and authentication system for the ICPSR website. The system creates a more secure environment for users and enables them to sign up for services that ICPSR is developing. MyData has the following user-friendly features:

  • Uses an email address as a login ID
  • Requires a password to authenticate to the website
  • Allows users to create an account and set preferences
  • Allows registered users to reset a forgotten password
  • Enables users to view prior download history
  • Enables users to subscribe to an update notification service that emails users when a study they've previously downloaded is substantially updated

Do I have to establish a MyData account?

Users who desire to download members-only data and some publicly available data may either establish a MyData account or log in using their Facebook or Google account. When a user creates a new account, s/he will be asked to complete a brief questionnaire about user preferences. Users that do not want to share their name and contact information with the Official Representative at their member institution can request to withhold that information.

Help Creating a MyData Account

You can find a video tutorial addressing this topic on the ICPSR YouTube channel.