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
- To begin a license request, please fill out and send the below Data Requirements and Research Plan document to NCSES_Licensing@nsf.gov. You must include in the form the specific restricted variables you are requesting. For more information on variables, see "Data available for licensing."
- Following submission, the license coordinator will contact you if there are any revisions necessary to your data requirements and research plan.
- Once NCSES approves your data requirements and research plan, the licensing coordinator will send you a security plan form to fill out. This form provides NCSES the information needed to decide if your institution has the appropriate security measures to protect restricted-use data.
- Upon approval of your security plan, NCSES will send you the remainder of the license application.
- After your full license application is submitted and approved, NCSES will provide the restricted-use data that you are now licensed to access.
If applicable, NCSES will respond with the full licensing application. NCSES may provide special tabulations or summary data to meet the specific data need rather than grant access to restricted-use microdata files.
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