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Publishing Guidelines

To ensure that you have followed the publishing guidelines, your manuscript must be reviewed by the NCHS Confidentiality Office before submission for publication. An additional review may be warranted if substantive changes are made during the publication review process (e.g., peer review at a journal) to how the statistics obtained from the RDC are reported in the tables or text. Email your manuscript with "Manuscript Review" in the subject line to your RDC Analyst to start this process.

These guidelines refer only to disclosure concerns related to publishing. The RDC does not comment on scientific merit or impose any merit-based publishing guidelines.

How Do I Cite the RDC in my Publication?


When publishing you must

  1. Adhere to any additional requirements specified in the approval email (During the proposal process, the Review Committee may request to review your publication for disclosure concerns prior to publication.)
  2. Not reveal any information that could identify an individual or establishment
  3. Not reveal any information that could be used to identify geographic areas where respondents live or were sampled unless you specifically have permission to make estimates for those areas
  4. Not reveal any information about specific dates
  5. Not reveal any information from external sources of data that have been merged to NCHS data based on temporal or geographic components that could facilitate the identification of areas, dates, or individuals
  6. Ask the RDC staff for help any time you have a disclosure concern


Disclosure Concerns to Consider

Ask yourself the following questions while writing a publication based on restricted data.




Are you mentioning anything
in the publication that you learned
looking at the restricted data?

If you are discussing something that you observed while in the RDC,
but did not specifically include in output for review, share this information
with your Analyst to assess if it poses additional risk.


Were restricted geographic variables
used to merge your data set?

Do not mention any specific geographic information not available on the
public files (e.g. specific states, counties) unless your approved proposal
specifically stated that you would.

Limit the number of unweighted sample sizes you show related to
lower levels of geography.

If you are discussing the number of geographic units represented and didn't
specifically state that you would in the approved proposal, ask your Analyst
to review the statement.


Does your data set include any
restricted temporal variables?

Do not mention any exact dates

Limit the number of unweighted sample sizes you show related to
temporal components.

If you want to mention coarsened dates (e.g. season, year),
this must have been explained in your proposal. Discuss
the appropriate language with your RDC Analyst before publishing.


Did your final analytic data set
include data from another source
that was merged on geographic
or temporal components?

Follow the same actions when discussing the non-NCHS data as you
would NCHS data.


Could an individual or establishment
possibly be identified by any
information in your publication?

Be mindful that the way you discuss inclusion and exclusion criteria
could not inadvertently identify small cell or extreme case. This includes
information on any individual or group of individuals such as

  • fewer cases than those specified cell suppression criteria
  • extreme cases or outliers that were identified during analysis
  • unweighted counts that could be subtracted to reveal a sample
    less than those specified cell suppression criteria.