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Data FAQ's

How do I find a particular dataset?

Datasets can be found in our data catalogue. You can filter by keywords or search by particular terms. Users can quickly see what datasets are available, in which formats and with which licence, straight from the search results.

How do I access the data?

You will be required to undertake a basic registration process in order to gain access to open data. Upon registering, the data will be available for download for any purpose. You are able to browse a limited amount of metadata for safeguarded and controlled data dependent on the restrictions imposed by the data provider. However, access to actual data requires users to complete a formal registration and approval process. Full details can be found in the User Guide.

Who can access the data?

CDRC data is available for research purposes to a broad range of users, both internal and external to academia. Access to data is governed by a committee (Research Approvals Group/RAG) that approves requests according to a set of criteria. Some data have restrictions on access due to the data licence agreements we have with our data providers.

Do I need Safe Researcher Training? What is Safe Researcher Training?

Safe Researcher Training is a one day online course provided by UK Data Service covering how to work work confidential and/or sensitive data safely. It is a requirement for any user working with our Secure data to have completed this training. It is generally not required for users working with Safeguarded data, but there are some exceptions to this. The requirements will be specified with the Data Profile or Terms of Use available on the relevant data page. If you do need the training, we (CDRC) will organised this for you, and will be in touch with you about this at the relevant time in the application process.

Who can use/access the secure facilities?

To access controlled data through the CDRC Secure service requires registration and project approval, with an additional step of booking into one of the secure facilities (where needed) and meeting any site specific secure facility requirements. The user will be informed of these once the site to be visited has been selected.

Can I check the contents of a dataset before I obtain it?

A description of each dataset and associated metadata is provided within the data catalogue. This description will include descriptive statistics which should enable the user to determine whether the data is of interest. If further information is required about the content of the data, users can contact the Centre directly.

Is there a guide to using the service?

See our User Guide for details on registering and accessing our data.

How do I log in to the Safeguarded and Controlled services?

Access to the Safeguarded and Secure services require that users obtain formal approval. The first step is to register for access via the online registration form. Users will establish a unique login/username and will be forwarded information including how to log a project request and register for user accreditation training. Full details can be found in the User Guide.

Does my project need an ethical review?

If you are working at an academic institution, it is up for your institution to decide whether your project needs an ethical review, and to provide the process to review the project. If you are applying to use secure data, we will ask for evidence of your institutions ethical review process and that they have approved your project. We may also ask for this for other applications, depending on the data used and the research conducted. If you are not working at an academic institution, we can help with the ethical review process, but the key message is that we need to ensure that you have thought about the ethical impact of your research and who it might potentially impact. Please do contact us for more details.

How do I download data?

To download open data you need to register online to enable us to monitor use of the service. Once registered you are able to click on the download link. To download safeguarded data you are required to have formal approval (see Login & Registration). Once approved you will be given access to a secure download of the agreed data. Controlled data is only available to access in one of the CDRC’s secure facilities. Full details can be found in the User Guide.

Can I use data I already hold for a new purpose?

Safeguarded or controlled data can not be used for purposes other than those originally approved by the Research Approvals Group. Open data can be used for any purpose.

Can my colleague use the data I have for the same purpose (project) as me?

Only if the individual was named on the approved project application. If a colleague joins a project after approval and was not cited on the application, CDRC should be notified before access to the data is provided. All individuals who wish to access data from the Centre need to go through an approvals process and, with the exception of using open data, undergo user accreditation training.

Can I use the data in teaching?

Data held within our open service are freely available to all for any purpose. Open data are accessed through the CDRC service via basic registration and download.

Why cite data?

The creation of a dataset which is properly documented and usable by other researchers deserves equivalent recognition and acknowledgement to a printed work of scholarship. Citation identifies sources for validation and further research by different researchers. Failure to cite datasets means that valuable data sources will not be indexed by bibliographical services such as social science citation indexes, and, more importantly, other researchers who would like to analyse these data may not have sufficient information to acquire them. (Source: UK Data Service)

How do I acknowledge and cite data?

The terms of service require that published outputs include an acknowledgement stating: “The data for this research have been provided by the Consumer Data Research Centre, an ESRC Data Investment, under project ID xxx.xx”

Do I have to submit copies of publications to CDRC?

Users are required to deposit copies of working papers, peer reviewed journal articles, logs of impact and other publications for access with the CDRC site wherever copyright permits. Where this is not possible, full references to research outputs are required for CDRC audit purposes. Full details can be found in the User Guide.

Some journals ask authors to make available the data used for a publication. How do I comply with this?

Some journals require authors to submit data alongside a publication so that the published results can be replicated by others. Data obtained from the Consumer Data Research Centre, including subsets and derived data, cannot be submitted to journals alongside publications as this would be a breach of the User Agreement that users agree to following project approval. However, in most cases it should be sufficient for the author of the publication to supply the journal with information about how an individual can register and access the data used via the CDRC.

What impact does the GDPR have for CDRC data?

The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) a range of new terms and principles when handling personal data. We have incorporated these in to the CDRCs processes. For more details, please see this report, written during the introduction of the GDPR regulations. If you have any questions, please do contact us via