UC Berkeley Institute of Personality and Social Research

IPSR Policies On the Use of Archival Data

Availability of IPSR archives

IPSR views its data archives as a resource for scholars from a wide variety of disciplines. We expect the archives will be of particular interest to personality researchers, but anticipate that scholars from other disciplines will find them useful as well.

Preparation of archival materials for use

Much of the IPSR archival data still exist only in their original form (i.e., the response forms filled out by research participants and/or the coding sheets completed by assessment staff). It is our long-term plan to create scanned, digitized computer images of these materials for use by researchers so that the original materials can be preserved. Rather than attempt to create these images for all materials at once, we will digitize the materials on an "as needed" basis.

Scholars wishing to utilize materials that have not previously been digitized will need to work with IPSR to have this done. In this way, subsequent users of these materials can use the digital images rather than the originals. IPSR has the scanning and computer equipment necessary for creating digital images. The digitized images will be stored in standard "PDF" (portable document format) files, which can be read using the Adobe Acrobat Reader (available free on the Web for all kinds of computers and already built into many browsers).

By browsing the catalog of the IPSR archives, investigators can specify the particular measures from the particular data sets that they wish to use. There are two general principles for determining what will need to be digitized when the data exist only in original form: (a) only those measures that are desired from a data set need to be digitized; (b) if a measure from a data set is needed, then the data from all of the respondents on that measure in that data set need to be digitized (e.g., even if the researcher is only interested in the data from women, data from both male and female participants will need to be digitized).

Requests for using the IPSR archives

Scholars wishing to use the IPSR archives should submit:

  • a written proposal (one-two pages in length) describing the nature of the proposed research (proposals from graduate students should be co-signed by their faculty research advisor)
  • a list of the specific data to be utilized
  • a timetable for planned utilization of the materials
  • a plan for preserving the confidentiality of the archival data
  • a list of any additional IPSR resources that are needed (e.g., office space, computer time, expendable supplies, etc.)
  • a statement of how costs will be reimbursed
  • a curriculum vita or resume (not necessary for IPSR members)

Proposals can be mailed or sent via e-mail to IPSR at the address below. All proposals to use the IPSR archives will be evaluated by the IPSR Archive Committee, which will also coordinate the digitization and/or duplication of requested archival materials as needed. Where access to particular data requires the approval of the original investigator or a designated representative, the IPSR Archive Committee will seek this approval. Proposals that involve the use of IPSR space and resources will also require approval by the IPSR Director.

Using the archives

Archive materials can be used off-site if the desired materials already exist in digital form or if arrangements are made to convert these materials to digital form.

Scholars wanting to make an appointment to visit the Institute to examine or discuss the archival data can usually be accommodated with two week's notice. Longer visits will require submitting a request to the Institute for visitor status. Because of space limitations at the Institute, these requests should be made with reasonable lead time (at least three months for visits of one month or less; at least one year for visits longer than one month).

Return of data

All archival data remain the property of IPSR. At the end of the agreed upon period of use, all copies of the data will be returned to the Institute. Reasonable time extensions will be granted if requested, but use of the data for additional projects not covered in the original proposal will require submitting a new proposal. Permission to use IPSR archival data is granted to the applying scholar (or scholars) only. Investigators must agree that these data will not be further duplicated or distributed.

Contribution of data files

If in the course of using IPSR archival data, an investigator creates data files that could be used in subsequent data analyses (e.g., files that contain test scores, demographics, or observer ratings), we ask that a copy of these data files be contributed to the Archives for use by future researchers. The IPSR archives catalog will indicate whether such data files are available and subsequent users will be able to request copies of these files as needed. IPSR cannot be responsible for the accuracy of these files, thus all investigators are urged to check them against the digital images of the original data.

Data security, confidentiality, and ethical use

Nearly all of the IPSR archival data were gathered under conditions of confidentiality, and assurances were given to subjects that all future use of these data would be in strict accordance with ethical principles. These same criteria apply to new projects that propose to use the archival data. When necessary, IPSR will refer a proposal for use of data to the Berkeley campus Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects for approval.

Citation of IPSR assistance

Publications that make use of IPSR archival data and IPSR resources must contain a footnote or other appropriate acknowledgement of this use.

Institute of Personality and Social Research
University of California Berkeley
4143 Tolman Hall #5050
Berkeley, CA 94720-5050

tel: (510) 642-5050
fax: (510) 643-9334
e-mail: ipsr at berkeley.edu