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

Publication Guidelines:

  1. Adhere to any specific requirements in your approval or output review emails.
  2. We are aware that many journals are asking that data included in your article be made available. While this is not appropriate for data used in the RDC, we recommend you share your data dictionary and merge procedures outlined in Data Requirements (Section E. ) of the approved proposal. It is RDC policy not to share information about proposals, so all information regarding the dataset must be provided by your research team.
  3. You must not reveal any information:
    1. That could identify an individual or establishment
    2. 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
    3. About exact dates
    4. Any mechanism that could unintentionally reveal information about any of the above items. Remember publishing information on external sources of data after they have been merged to NCHS data could facilitate the identification of areas, dates, or individuals.
  1. Follow the RDC citation requirements.
  2. Ask the RDC Analyst for help or clarification anytime you have a disclosure concern.

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.

Disclosure consideration


Disclosure Concern


Unreleased information

  • If you are discussing something that you observed

          while in the RDC, but it did not undergo disclosure 

          review, share this information with your Analyst to 

          assess if it poses a risk.

Geographic information


  • Do not mention geographic information not

         available in the public files (e.g. specific states, /p>

         counties), unless you have received written 

         permission from the Review Committee.

  • Do not discuss the number of geographic units

          represented without written permission.

  • Avoid presenting unweighted sample sizes

         related to lower levels of geography.

Temporal information 

  • Do not mention exact dates
  • Do not mention coarsened dates (e.g. season,

          year), without written permission.

  • Avoid presenting unweighted sample sizes related

         to temporal components.

External data sources 

merged to NCHS data 

using geographic or 

temporal variables

  • Do not reveal any information that could facilitate

          the identification of areas, dates or individuals who

          participated in NCHS surveys

  • Follow the same actions when discussing the non-

          NCHS data as you would NCHS data.

Identification of an 

individual or 



Discuss inclusion and exclusion criteria in a way that does 

not inadvertently identify small cell or extreme case. This 

includes information on individual(s) or establishments 

such as:

  • fewer cases than those specified cell suppression criteria
  • extreme cases or outliers that were identified during


  • unweighted counts that could be subtracted to reveal

         a sample less than those specified cell suppression 



How to cite the RDC

Your methods section should specify which restricted variables you accessed through the Research Data Center and why they were essential to your research question. Here are two brief examples:

    • Geographic variables including state, county, and tract were used to merge in Census variables which provided neighborhood contextual information. State, county, and tract are restricted variables therefore, these data were accessed through the Research Data Center.
    • To merge the patient and agency files, we needed the restricted facility identification variable. Because the analyses required restricted data, they were accessed through the Research Data Center.

Avoid statements such as:

    • Analyses of these data were approved by the NCHS Research Data Center.
    • The NCHS Research Data Center reviewed and approved our results.

You should also follow any citation suggestions provide by the NCHS survey you are using.

Include the following disclaimer:

  • The findings and conclusions in this paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the Research Data Center, the National Center for Health Statistics, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

ERB Approval

As a reminder, NCHS data collection and analysis of restricted data have been approved by the NCHS Ethics Review Board (ERB). Please use the sample language below to indicate ERB approval to your dissertation committee, grant review committee, or peer –review journal.

  • Data collection for (fill in NCHS survey name) was approved by the NCHS Research Ethics Review Board. Analysis of de-identified data from the survey is exempt from the federal regulations for the protection of human research participants. Analysis of restricted data through the NCHS Research Data Center is also approved by the NCHS ERB.

Send Us Your Publications

We would like to include any presentations, reports, or publications you write on the basis of your work with the NCHS RDC on our list of publications. They will serve as examples of work completed with the assistance of the RDC and help publicize the resources we make available.

Page last reviewed: February 26, 2015