What are the consequences of violating the terms of use agreement for ICPSR data?

Subjects who participate in surveys and other research instruments distributed by ICPSR expect their responses to remain confidential. The data distributed by ICPSR are for statistical analysis, and they may not be used to identify specific individuals or organizations. Although ICPSR takes steps to assure that subjects cannot be identified, users are also obligated to act responsibly and not to violate the privacy of subjects intentionally or unintentionally. If ICPSR determines that the terms of use agreement has been violated, one or more steps will be taken, which may include:

  • ICPSR may revoke the existing agreement, demand the return of the data in question, and deny all future access to ICPSR data.
  • The violation may be reported to the Research Integrity Officer, Institutional Review Board, or Human Subjects Review Committee of the user's institution. A range of sanctions are available to institutions including revocation of tenure and termination.
  • If the confidentiality of human subjects has been violated, the case may be reported to the Federal Office for Human Research Protections. This may result in an investigation of the user's institution, which can result in institution-wide sanctions including the suspension of all research grants.
  • A court may award the payment of damages to any group(s) or individual(s) harmed by the breach of the agreement.

Jun 17, 2009

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