Policies and Procedures
Funding and Fees:
The RDC is supported by member institutions with initial support from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
- If the researcher is associated with a Consortium member institution (UNC system, Duke University, RTI) the lab fees are covered by the institution’s membership contribution.
- If the researcher is not associated with one of the Consortium member institutions, the researcher may access the RDC by paying a fee; current fees are based on frequency of use.
- Additional fees may be charged to projects that use data sets outside the core or that require special resources from CES, the Census Bureau, or the TRDC.
Disclosure and Confidentiality
All research conducted at the RDC falls under Title 13 and Title 26 regulations. Federal law prohibits disclosure of information contained in data prepared by the Bureau of the Census or other participating federal agencies. As a result, research at the RDC takes place under conditions that are more restrictive than a typical research environment.
- Output–printed or otherwise–may not be removed from the RDC until it has been cleared for release by the RDC Administrator and Bureau or the corresponding agency. Any released output is released by email from the Bureau or corresponding agency.
- For certain Census projects, output may be subject to additional review by the Census Bureau’s Disclosure Review Board.
- Each researcher on the project who wishes to see undisclosed output at the RDC must obtain Special Sworn Status (SSS).
- No analysis can be performed outside of the RDC laboratories.
- Outside computing equipment or devices that provide access to email or text messaging, cannot be brought into the lab by researchers. The prohibited devices include laptops, cell phone with text messaging or email capabilities and portable digital media devices such as flash drives.
- Data may only be used for the approved project.
Significant limitations on what output may be released exist in order to maintain confidentiality standards:
- projects must emphasize output from statistical models
- intermediate output, including detailed tables of descriptive statistics and regression models based on small sample sizes typically cannot be removed from the RDC
- intermediate output, defined as output that is intended for sharing with co-authors or graduate advisors but is not intended for publication or presentation at seminars and conferences, will generally not be released
- Large detailed tables of descriptive statistics or statistics computed from very small samples present a disclosure risk and generally will not be released.
Researchers should keep in mind that:
- the clearance process for releasing statistics from the RDC may take several weeks
- coordination with the RDC Administrator on timelines for disclosure analysis in advance of presentations or circulation of papers is strongly recommended
- co-researchers and graduate advisers who want to view preliminary or intermediate output should obtain SSS and visit the RDC rather than requesting this output for release.
A complete description of the research environment at the RDCs and more details on disclosure avoidance and confidentiality are available by request.
Acknowledging the TRDC in manuscripts
ALL papers, books, chapters and monographs written using results obtained using confidential Census Bureau data at Census Research Data Centers must include the following disclaimer:
“The research in this paper [chapter, …] was conducted while the authors were Special Sworn Status researchers of the U.S. Census Bureau at the [Census Research Data Center]. Research results and conclusions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Census Bureau. This paper has been screened to insure that no confidential data are revealed.”
Access to all files ends at midnight on the last day of the project.
- All data and programs remain in the possession of the Census Bureau.
- Researchers should provide documentation of all programs developed to conduct the research.
Extensions may be requested in some unusual circumstances.
Reactivation of projects is permitted for one month to complete a reasonable set of revisions for publication, as long as a researcher’s SSS is current.
Researchers are required to submit annual progress reports for Census projects including:
- a statement describing how the proposed benefits to the Census Bureau were realized
- a CES working paper and copies of any papers or publications based on the research
- a technical memo detailing the findings that pertain to the Census Bureau benefits
A summary project report within 6 months of the end of a project is also required.
An acknowledgement must be included on all researchers’ publications resulting from use of data at the RDC; contact the RDC Administrators for the specific language.