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Data Services

Reference & Instruction Services

A skilled data librarian is available to answer statistical and dataset-related reference questions (e.g. does x dataset have y and z variables) as well as provide assistance in the acquisition of public and restricted-use datasets.  Additional services include curriculum-tailored data workshops upon request and primary data dissemination and/or archiving/deposit assistance.

Analytic Support Services

A statistical programmer is also available to help with developing statistical code in software programs such as SAS, SPSS, STATA, etc.  as well as data file downloads and customized subsetting of large demographic datasets.   Generation of codebooks for primary and secondary datasets is also offered.  

A windows-based applications server - "the Fox"- with the latest version of Stata is available for faculty associates and their research assistants to store large datasets and run analyses.  This server is managed for the Hopkins Population Center by skilled systems administrators.  It is accessible from all Hopkins campuses.  If you are interested in an account for the Fox, please contact Michele Trieb.

Restricted Data Services

The Hopkins Population Center associates may request assistance in the acquisition of restricted-use data.  This service includes working with associates to prepare an application for use of the data, submission of all paperwork, management of the contract/license file (including amendments and renewals), audits for workspace compliance, and secure storage of original restricted data media (CDs/DVDs).  Please note that this service is for faculty associates who are conducting their own research and research assistants working for that associate.  Graduate students seeking access to restricted use data for their own work are ineligible for this service.

As each restricted-use contract is unique, it is suggested that you consult with Jennifer Darragh before you begin your application process to determine your options, and streamline the process.

Restricted Data Storage and Access

HPC Associates have two options for storing and accessing restricted-use data depending upon contract/license security requirements.  If the data are permitted to be stored and accessed via a secure server and through remote desktop client, we have "the Wolf" restricted-data server.  This is a Windows-based analytic server running the most current versions of Stata and SAS.  Other software may be added on a case-by-case basis, and should be brought to our attention at the time of your request to use the server.  This server is maintained for the HPC by skilled systems administrators.  Please note that this server is for restricted-access data only.

To access the restricted data server, there is an Internet-based Cold Room, a restricted data enclave located in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  Access to this room is granted by Michele Trieb and the school's security administration and is protected by card-swipe access (better than keys as users can be added/removed quickly, and no need for keys to be returned/recovered).  There are three dummy terminals within this room – PCs with very limited software – that are used to access the secure data server through remote desktop connection.

The HPC also maintains a Hopkins Population Center Cold Room located on the fourth floor of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; this is a secure environment for restricted primary and secondary data analysis on stand-alone computers.  This room is protected by card reader access, which can only be granted by Michele Trieb and the school’s security administration.  The machines in this room are not connected in any way to the school’s internal or external networks, or to each other.  Original media received from data providers is stored in a fire-proof safe, to which only Michele Trieb has access.   All researchers, prior to granting access to this room, must submit all necessary paperwork required from each data provider and receive approval prior to entering the room.

Restricted Use Data for HPC Associates Services  

The Hopkins Population Center has a site contract for the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health Waves I-IV (aka Add Health).  Associates wishing to use these data for research must meet with Jennifer Darragh to talk about your project and fill out the necessary contractual paperwork.  Proof of IRB approval must be provided before access to the data will be granted.  If you would like text describing the data and access procedures for your IRB application, please contact Jen Darragh.

Webinar on "Building Restricted-Use Data Support Services"

The Hopkins Population Center's Jen Darragh co-led a webinar with the Data Sharing for Demographic Research (DSDR) project and the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan.   The webinar slides can be found here: