Confidentiality and Disclosure

Maintaining confidentiality is the primary objective of the Research Data Center. Together, the confidentiality training, confidentiality forms, and the Disclosure Manual outlines the rules and procedures that are required to protecting the data and prevent disclosure of confidential information.  The Research Team and other authors listed in the proposal must complete the Confidentiality Training and Confidentiality Forms.

Confidentiality Training

It should take 10-20 minutes to complete the orientation. At the conclusion of the orientation, you will be asked to take a quiz. You need to score a 100%.

Confidentiality Forms

Because the forms are specific to the proposal, they will need to be completed each time you submit a new approved proposal to the RDC.

Provide these forms including your confidentiality orientation certificate to your RDC Analyst as soon as possible. Forms can be submitted via email or by mail, if emailed make sure the notary seal is visible. You will not be permitted to begin your research until we receive your completed forms.

Disclosure Review Policies and Procedures

Our disclosure review policies and procedures exist to protect the identity of study participants. For more information, please read the Disclosure Manual: Rules for Researchers pdf icon[PDF – 135 KB]

General Output Policies

  1. Creating a data set is not appropriate output and will not be released.
  2. Absolutely NO output will leave the RDC facilities without first being reviewed by an RDC Analyst for possible disclosures of confidential information.
  3. Output submitted for review MUST match the research questions and the output described in your approved proposal.
  4. RDC Analysts may apply Cell Suppression Criteria: Guidelines may differ by data system and possibly by survey year because of sample size, sample design, and content. Sometimes specific projects pose additional disclosure concerns and additional or more stringent cell suppression may be applied.
  5. Approved output is returned to the researcher via email (for all projects) three (3) weeks after the date of request. ).
  6. Please plan ahead to allow up to 3 weeks to receive your approved output.
  7. Although the output files are reviewed by RDC staff for disclosure concerns, it is your responsibility to use the output and statistics in a way that will not pose additional disclosure risks to study participants.

Preparing Your Output for Review

All output requests must match with what was approved in your proposal.  Follow the steps outlined here and in the Disclosure Manual, otherwise, you may be asked to return to the RDC to redo your output so that it conforms to RDC policy and your approved proposal.

Before submitting output to your RDC Analyst for review, you must do the following:

  1. Make sure it is in a form that can be released by the RDC. Output will be released in the default format produced by the statistical package (i.e. .lst files for SAS) or in a human-readable plain text file (i.e., files that can be opened and are readable in Windows Notepad such as tab delimited text [.txt] files or comma-separated values [.csv]).
  2. You must populate the actual tables that will appear in your publication with those that were provided in your approved proposal.
  3. Remove any output that you feel could lead to the identification of an individual or institution,. If you have questions, please ask your RDC Analyst.
  4. Output that has individual record level information is not permitted. Remove any individual level data from your output.
  5. Extreme values or values representing an individual must be removed. Examples include minima, maxima, medians, and modes. If a procedure, such as Proc Univariate creates extreme observations, 0, 1, 99, and 100 percentiles, those extreme values must also be removed.
  6. Re-categorize variables with a frequency less than 5. If you are unable to re-categorized, then all cells with a frequency less than 5 should be asterisked before they are submitted to your RDC Analyst.

Make sure output submitted for review includes:

  1. A description of the output. (This can be a title: a regression of…)
  2. Descriptions of (sub)sample in the analysis and output. (e.g., black males age 20-29)

Intermediate output can be created and used on site, but the RDC discourages its release. You must provide written justification to have intermediate output reviewed. Intermediate output review will take longer than 3 weeks and there is no timeline for its release.




Page last reviewed: December 16, 2019, 01:40 PM