The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) of the National Science Foundation (NSF) is bound by the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, the NSF Act of 1950, as amended, and the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002, Title V, all of which provide for the security and privacy of personally identifiable statistical data. Such information is termed "restricted-use data."
Under certain conditions, NCSES may grant an organization a license to securely access restricted-use microdata files.
Data available for licensing
Licenses are only needed for microdata that are not available in the public-use files. Your organization will be required to meet specified security procedures to keep restricted data safe from unauthorized access, disclosure, or modification.
Restricted-use microdata are available from NCSES for the following:
- SESTAT Surveys
- National Survey of Recent College Graduates
- Survey of Doctorate Recipients
- SESTAT Integrated File
- Doctorate Records File/Survey of Earned Doctorates
Please note that restricted-use microdata of other surveys may be available from another agency or a Federal Statistical Research Data Center. Please see the survey description of an individual survey for more information.
Review the annotated questionnaire in the public-use files and the below file that provides the layouts for both the restricted-use datasets and the public-use files if unsure whether a variable is restricted.
SESTAT File Layout (27.8 KB)
Doctorate Records File Layout (152KB)
Steps to receive a license
- Researchers who wish to apply for a restricted-use data license should go to the NCSES Restricted Use Data Request Portal (https://nsfportal.norc.org/de-management-portal/account/login). Once there, researchers can create an account and submit the data requirements and plan for their research study. Researchers must include in the application a list of the specific restricted-use variables that they require. To help prepare the online submission, the data requirements and research plan form is attached as a Word document for reference.
- Upon approval of the data requirements and research plan, researchers can download and complete the full license application from the portal. Completing the application requires researchers to obtain several signatures both from individuals in their institution and from a notary public.
- Researchers can then submit the completed license application through the portal. Upon approval, NCSES will provide information on accessing the restricted use data through our Secure Data Access Facility.
Amend a current license
To amend your organization's current license (i.e. add data, add data users, or extend the license), e-mail NCSES_Licensing@nsf.gov.
Please use the subject "Restricted Data License Amendment — License [Your License Number]." Specify within the body what part of the license agreement you need to amend. NCSES will respond with the appropriate documentation.
If you have questions or need additional information about the procedures on this page, please contact:
Licensing Coordinator/Program Specialist
Information and Technology Services Program
National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics