Open and Restricted Data

ODAP encourages openness and transparency whenever possible. However, not all data can be made public. Research datasets, specially in social science and health, might contain sensitive information about individuals which cannot be shared openly. Harvard provides guidelines for working with data that contain confidential information, as defined by the Research Data Security Policy.

When data contain sensitive information from individuals, researchers have the option to properly de-identify the dataset and share a clean copy. If needed, the files can be set restricted in Dataverse, and only give access to collaborators or other researchers that agree to the terms of use, as defined by the data depositor. 

A multi-disciplinary collaboration by Harvard's CRCS at SEAS, the Berkman Center, IQSS and the Data Privacy Lab, funded by the National Science Foundation, is developing Privacy Tools to facilitate sharing sensitive data. During 2015 an 2016, the tools generated by this group will be integrated with Harvard Dataverse, thus providing more ways to share your sensitive data. The Privacy Tools aim to maximize openness by helping users to identify legal requirements and make informed decisions about privacy concerns.