PADR FAQs

How do I request administrative data for use in my research?

We recommend that you first review these FAQs and the FilePADR Application before attempting to complete the PADR Online Application.

What happens once I submit my application?

Applications, once submitted, are sent to PADR for an initial review.  An email confirmation will be sent to the PI and the individual who completed the application.  Investigators can expect to receive initial feedback on their application within 14 days of submission.

When can I expect to hear back from PADR regarding the status of my application?

Investigators can expect to receive initial feedback on their application with 14 days of submission.  The nature of the feedback will vary by application, usually as a function of the data requested. Requests for data that are readily available, that are not sensitive or subject to regulatory restrictions are likely to be available more quickly, than complicated requests that involve multiple data providers.  In some cases, PADR will contact the investigators to obtain better understanding of the data being requested or to suggest alternate sources of data that may be better suited to the proposed research.  Our early experience, with the PADR process suggest that many data requests benefit from these conversations. 

Once my proposal has been approved, how long will it take before I receive the data I have requested?

The time needed to produce requested data will vary with the complexity of the request, the availability of staff to produce the requested data, and the normal business cycle of the office(s) involved in the production of the data.  Investigators interested in working with administrative data are advised to begin their proposal development well in advance, at least 3 months, of their target start date.

Prior to the release of the requested data, the investigator and all individuals have access to the administrative data must sign and return a Data Use Agreement (DUA).

How should I describe the data that I want to request?

Generally, it is helpful if the investigator provides a list of variables and values, being as specific as possible, that would support their project.  PADR will then work with Data Stewards to map their request to data that University is able to provide. It is also important for PADR to understand the unit of measure required in the study, the composition of study sample and the types of analyses planned.

Who can serve as the Principal Investigator on a PADR project? 

Individuals in one of the ranks identified by the University Research Board. See the Principal Investigator Qualification Chart (link is external).  If students are involved in the project, a faculty member or other individual authorized to supervise students must fulfill the PI role and provide appropriate oversight of the research.

Can students request administrative data for dissertation, senior thesis or other independent work?

The university does not typically provide administrative data for individual student research projects.  Students are encouraged to utilize public data sets in which Princeton is included or other public sources of data.  Some examples are available on our External Data menu or through the Princeton University Library.

Students seeking data for research and class projects may contact the Campus as Lab program in the Office of Sustainability or Web Feed Registry.

Students seeking to conduct survey research projects are encouraged to contact the Princeton Survey Research Center.

How do I know when PADR approval is required?

If you need data for research and the data is held/maintained by a University Department, i.e., not yourself.

How does PADR define "research"?

PADR defines "research" as a systematic investigation designed to develop or contribute to knowledge.  The knowledge can be limited to organizational knowledge, such as to improve the University, its planning, programming, or educational offerings.

Does my proposed project need to be considered human subjects research for PADR to apply?

No.  The proposed project does not need to meet the regulatory definition of research that is applied by the IRB (a systematic investigation designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge).

Is PADR approval required or optional?

If you need data for research and the University maintains the data (you are not the holder of the data), PADR approval is required before data is released to you.

Are social security numbers available?

The University has classified Social security number, Bank account number, Driver’s license number, State identity card number, Credit card number, and Protected health information (as defined by HIPAA) as Restricted Information.  PADR has not been authorized to release Restricted data.  For a description of the data classifications see the Princeton University Information Security Policy.

Will the University release other direct personal identifiers such as name or address?

In general, the University will not release data files that include direct person identifiers.  Other variables that are deemed sensitive or increase the risk of indirect re-identification may be transformed prior to release.

Does my proposal require a University sponsor?

No, a University sponsor is not required.  However, given the volume of requests, priority will be given to those applications which have the strong endorsement of an administrative unit or office.

May I share PADR data files with colleagues?

No, PADR data files are released for use in the research described in the PADR proposal.  Redistribution or reuse in other projects requires prior approval of PADR.

May I retain PADR data files beyond the conclusion of my research study?

No, PADR data files should be destroyed or returned to the University at the conclusion of the study or at the earliest permitted date.

Are there restrictions on how these data may be reported, presented, or published?

In most cases, PADR data files will be classified as Confidential Information that is not intended to be shared freely within or outside the University due to its sensitive nature and/or contractual or legal obligations.  As such, these data may not be presented in the format in which they are provided.  Rather all or most reports, presentations, and manuscripts must be formatted such that documents may be classified as Public Information.  In most cases, PADR requires notification and an embargoed copy of presentations and manuscripts prior to release.  For a description of the data classifications at the University, please see the Princeton University Information Security Policy (link is external).

How should PADR data be stored and secured while I am working with the data?

Investigators should refer to the Research Data Security guidance provided by the Office of Research Integrity and Assurance.  While Research Data Security documents focus on research involving human subjects, the guidelines are generally applicable to all types of data that PADR would release.  Investigators are strongly encouraged to contact the Information Security Office with any questions regarding data security.  The Information Security Office will review your data security plan as part of the PADR review process.

Does PADR have a Data Use Agreement--Terms of Use template?

A template is under development and will be posted.

Are there any fees?

Depending on the nature of the data being requested, significant time and effort may be required to fulfill some requests. In such situations, the Principal Investigator may be asked to defray the costs associated with the fulfillment of this request.  The Principal Investigator will be contacted will be contacted before any costs are incurred.

Do all PADR applications also require IRB review?

It will depend on the data requested.  Some proposals may not require IRB approval.

Do study personnel need to complete Human Research training?

While documentation of Human Research training will depend on the data requested, we strongly encourage that all project personnel complete CITI training offered by the Research Integrity and Assurance office.

Do studies being conducted by external foundations, think tanks, and other organizations require PADR review?

Yes, if the study required the release of University data to the study sponsor.  PADR does not make the decision to participate in such studies, but rather reviews the terms and conditions of the data release.  The decision to participate in an external study is typically made by a University administrator who agrees to serve as, and accept the responsibilities of, the local primary investigator.

When does PADR meet?

PADR meets monthly during the academic year.  During spring term 2017-2018 PADR meets on: January 10, February 8, March 8, April 16, May 8, June 7

Who are the PADR members?

Ted Bross (Office of Information Technology, Custom Development, Data Warehousing and Integration)

Cole Crittenden (Graduate School)

Polly Griffin (Office of the Registrar)

Yoo-Keong Kudo (Office of General Counsel)

Jed Marsh, Chair (Office of the Provost, Institutional Research)

Rebekah Massengill (Office of the Dean of the College)

Chad Pettengill (Office of the Dean for Research, Research Integrity and Assurance)

John Scanlon (Office of the Dean of the Faculty)

David Sherry (Office of Information Technology, Information Security)

Laura Strickler (Office of the Executive Vice President)

Sankar Suryanaryan (Office of General Counsel)

Roger Weisenberg (Office of Finance & Treasury)

Jonathan LeBouef, sits with panel (Office of the Registrar)