The PSID has promised anonymity to its respondents and protection of their data to the fullest extent available by federal and state law. The PSID takes this promise very seriously, and it is the basis for the contract process.

The materials and process needed to apply for PSID restricted data are described below. Access to PSID restricted data may be obtained through an enclave supported by the Survey Research Center (SRC), the SRC Enclave provides a secure computing environment for accessing restricted data files via secure remote access through a Virtual Data Enclave. A variety of software applications are available for use in the enclave.

A contract must be established between the user’s institution and the University of Michigan. Separate contracts must be established for each discrete research project. In order to obtain this contract and gain access to the SRC Virtual Data Enclave, the user must submit the following materials (see below for description):
  1. Curriculum vitae
  2. Research plan
  3. Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval
  4. Data request form
  5. SRC acceptable use policy (AUP)
  6. VDI-Data security plan
  7. Institute for Social Research Confidentiality pledge
  8. After approval, a $750 non-refundable administration fee will be collected.

Review of the application is typically completed within two weeks once all materials are received. Once approval is granted, PSID sends the contract to the applicant for institutional signature. For the vast majority of contracts, signatures are obtained within several weeks. The time to complete the contract may be longer if the requesting institution representatives wish to negotiate contract language with the University of Michigan. We have been successful negotiating contracts in virtually all situations. Please submit application materials electronically to: psidhelp@umich.edu

Curriculum Vitae
Review the memo Personnel Requirements for Obtaining PSID Restricted Data to ensure that you and your staff meet the requirements for obtaining the data. Submit a copy of your academic resume or curriculum vitae as well as those of all participating research staff.

Research Plan
Applicants for PSID restricted data must provide a short (1-3 page) research proposal that includes a synopsis (or a full statement, if necessary) of the goals of the research and specifies:
  • the types of variables from the PSID restricted data you intend to use in your research;
  • what other data, if any, you plan to merge with the PSID restricted data.
  • why you believe the unrestricted versions of those variables, if any, are not adequate for your research purposes. For example, “State of residence” for the respondent is available on the PSID public-use file, and may meet the needs of some research projects as well as finer levels of geography that are restricted.
  • the names and roles of all individuals involved in the research project and whether they will be accessing the enclave
  Individuals who are applying for Census Block and Census Block-Group data must describe the exact links they plan to make to Census data. This information is described here: Special Information for Requests for Census Block and Block-Group Data.

Human Subjects Review
You must provide evidence of review by your institution’s Institutional Review Board/Human Subjects Review Committee/Privacy Board. No exempt or abbreviated review, or lower standards (such as sometimes used for "secondary data analysis") will be accepted. Please submit your IRB approval with your application materials.

Data Request Form
The Data Request Form should be submitted with the application materials. Researchers must substantiate in their Research Plan their use of all Restricted Data File(s) being requested.

PSID has partnered with MiCDA to make contextual files and related documentation available to approved researchers upon request. The MiCDA Geographic Linkages Repository (GLR) will facilitate linkages at multiple levels of geography (e.g. state, county, tract, zip code) so that researchers can more fully investigate the impact of the environments in which people live and work on later life health, well-being and related disparities. To apply for to access to the contextual data, submit the MiCDA GLR order form as part of your restricted data application. By requesting to use data deposited with GLR, you agree to cite any GLR data sources used in your publications and presentations.

Contract for Use of Restricted Data
Upon approval of the application materials by Restricted Data Committee, an e-version of the Contract(s) for Use of PSID Restricted Data will be sent for institutional signature. The Investigator(s), Co-Investigator(s), Research Assistants, and the Representative of the Receiving Institution must sign the contract. The Representative is someone authorized to enter into contractual agreements on behalf of the Receiving Institution. The Representative then sends the electronically signed contract back to the PSID at the University of Michigan where representatives for PSID and the University of Michigan sign the contract. After University of Michigan representatives electronically sign the contracts, a fully executed electronic agreement will be sent to the investigator or appropriate parties upon request.

Once the contract is established, investigators may request access to additional PSID restricted data if the data will be used to achieve the original goals of the existing research project. To do this, please update and resubmit the research plan and data request form.

Additional co-investigators and/or research assistants may also be added to an existing research project. To do this, the IRB must be updated, and each new team member must provide a CV and complete the SRC AUP form, the VDI-Data security plan, and the Institute for Social Research Confidentiality pledge.

Please note that separate contracts must be established for each discrete research project. Investigators with multiple contracts will be provided with contract-specific access, and may not share data across separate research projects.

Note: In the event that the Investigator changes institutions, the current contract is no longer valid and a new contract must be completed that includes a revised VDI-data security plan reflecting the new work environment and Human Subjects Review by the investigator’s new institution.

Fee Requirements
A non-refundable administrative fee in the amount of $750 must be submitted with the signed contracts. The fee covers the expense of creating the data files and documentation, up to four hours of consultation with the PSID user services staff, and the costs of administering the contract.