data access

NCSES Issues RFI on Use Cases to Inform a Future National Secure Data Service

The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES), housed within the National Science Foundation (NSF), has issued a request for information (RFI) on Use Cases to Inform a Future National Secure Data Service (NSDS) (see previous COSSA coverage). NSDS is intended to inform the ongoing work to improve the governments’ data infrastructure system, including new ways of collecting and linking data. NCSES requests information on research, policy, program, and education use cases as well as challenges and barriers that could be addressed using an NSDS for the development of a future NSDS.  Comments are requested by June 14 and can be…

New Executive Order Targets Protection of Americans’ Data from Foreign Threats

On February 28, the White House issued an Executive Order (EO) titled “Preventing Access to Americans’ Bulk Sensitive Personal Data and United States Government-Related Data by Countries of Concern.” This EO seeks to safeguard the privacy of American citizens and the integrity of government data against foreign exploitation. Under this guidance, the Attorney General is mandated to formulate regulations that will restrict transactions involving sensitive American data and government-related information, particularly when transactions involve foreign countries or nationals identified as posing security threats. This regulatory framework is aimed at curbing the potential for adversaries to exploit personal and governmental data…

Federal Statistical Agencies Launch Standard Application Process for Accessing Restricted Federal Data

The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) within the National Science Foundation and the Interagency Council on Statistical Policy (ICSP) have launched a Standard Application Process (SAP) to improve access to restricted federal data. As previously reported, the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 called for the development of a process to provide streamlined access to confidential federal data. The recently announced SAP was developed in response to this directive. The agencies released an Applicant Instruction Manual for the process and are available for questions or comments at

OSTP Requests Feedback on Data Repositories and Data Sharing

The While House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a Request for Public Comment on January 17 on Draft Desirable Characteristics of Repositories for Managing and Sharing Data Resulting from Federally Funded Research. The request, published in the Federal Register, was issued on behalf of the multi-agency Subcommittee on Open Science of the National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on Science. The proposed set of desirable characteristics are intended to improve the consistency of information that federal agencies provide to the scientific community about the long-term preservation of data resulting from federally funded research. The Subcommittee on Open…

ICPSR Launches Pilot Tool to Streamline Access to Restricted Federal Data

In December, ICPSR at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research released a new tool to simplify the application process for accessing restricted microdata from principal statistical agencies. ResearchDataGov gives researchers access to a single portal and a standard application to access restricted data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census Bureau, National Center for Health Statistics, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. More federal data sources are expected to be added as the pilot moves forward. The project is supported by funding from the Census…

NIH Seeks Input on the Need for an Administrative Data Enclave

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has issued a Request for Information (RFI) on the potential development of a secure data enclave within the NIH using existing funds. This enclave would allow approved research organizations to access sensitive non-public NIH information such as information on peer review outcomes, grant progress reports, and demographic information of NIH grant applicants. NIH approval would be required for researchers to access the data. The NIH is seeking information about this proposed data enclave including examples of research that is currently not pursuable without such access, whether the benefits of a data enclave are worth…

NSF Releases Open Government Plan 4.0

Earlier this month, the National Science Foundation (NSF) released the latest iteration of its transparency plan, Open Government Plan 4.0. NSF’s original plan, (version 1.0) was developed in 2010 in response to a 2009 White House directive calling for federal agencies to “implement the principles of transparency, participation and collaboration” across their activities and functions. This newest report, issued last week, reflects updates that have been made to federal guidelines pertaining to open government practices. The plan covers a variety of topics, including specific NSF transparency initiatives, the use of social media for communicating with the public, Freedom of Information…

Public Comment Sought for Death Master File Certification Program

On December 30, the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register for the establishment of a certification program to “certify” persons to access Death Master File (DMF) information about an individual within three years of that individual’s death. The new program would replace the temporary certification program in place since 2013. The deadline for comments has been extended to March 30. Back to this issue’s table of contents.


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