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Research Data

Research Using IRIS Data

IRIS data are useful for analyzing the social and economic effects of research investments, the scientific production function, the career outcomes and earnings of doctoral students and trainees, questions pertaining to science and engineering workforce and the STEM pipeline among many other possible topics. Recent IRIS data use cases include studies to determine how research experience shapes the career pathways of students; to examine how federally funded research yields safer and more secure food systems; to analyze gender differences in graduate studies and early career pathways within STEM fields; to explore the way scientific knowledge is translated into society by the public service activities of faculty; and to measure how university vendors produce additional innovations and contribute to regional growth. IRIS encourages researchers from all disciplines to apply for approval to access IRIS data.

IRIS researchers will receive

  • access to IRIS data in a secure Virtual Data Enclave (VDE)
  • the ability to transfer work to approved Census FSRDC projects*
  • research support and training materials
  • 10 privacy/confidentiality protected disclosures per year

IRIS researchers will contribute

  • improvements to documentation and future data releases
  • citations to and copies of research papers using IRIS data


About the IRIS Research Dataset

IRIS curates, documents, and distributes, subject to responsible privacy and confidentiality restrictions, a research dataset. The dataset includes de-identified IRIS data, public elements of external datasets (e.g., grants and publications), and crosswalk files to match particular data elements (e.g., awards, awardees, research employees) across IRIS data and external datasets. The dataset is released every two years (it was released annually between 2017 and 2020).

IRIS has released a research dataset five times since March 2017, and a mirror of the dataset with linkages to restricted Census Bureau data is released via the Federal Statistical Research Data Center (FSRDC) system annually around May. IRIS also produces supplementary data releases when new data products are prepared for sharing between regular releases.


Accessing the IRIS Research Dataset

Applications to access the dataset must include a description of the relevant research project; an IRB determination letter from the relevant institution; completion of training; and, for researchers at institutions that are not members of IRIS, payment of a seat fee.

For more details and to download the required forms, visit our “Research Data Access” page.

*For researchers with Special Sworn Status through the U.S. Census.

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