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ANES Announcement:Update about Restricted-Use Data

July 16, 2021

Dear ANES User Community,

I am writing to you regarding the American National Election Studies (ANES) Restricted-Use Data Program.

As for all of us, the past year brought new challenges for ANES. The 2020 Time Series study design required last-minute changes due to limitations on in-person interviewing. Furthermore, our Restricted-Use Data agreement did not allow working from home, preventing new applications from proceeding and halting the research of already-approved users.

These challenges led us to evaluate how we administer the ANES Restricted-Use Data Program altogether—not just how to adapt during the pandemic but also how to improve the user experience going forward. While we have streamlined our application process over the years, the process can be cumbersome and inconvenient for both researchers and staff. Our volume of applications does not allow for economies of scale. Contract negotiation, while aimed at safeguarding respondent and researcher rights, has occasionally led to frustrating delays.

To address these issues, we have arranged with the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) to administer our ANES Restricted-Use Data Program, effective immediately. ICPSR is a high-volume processor of data use agreements and has an efficient, streamlined procedure that meets or exceeds our standards for customer service and the protection of our survey respondents.

ICPSR provides a Virtual Data Enclave (VDE) that will be the preferred method to access ANES Restricted-Use Data. The VDE is a location on a server hosted at the University of Michigan within which approved users can securely access and safely use their ANES Restricted-Use Data from anywhere with an Internet connection, including their home. This will eliminate the need for users to set up or access specialized, secure computing stations on their campus. The VDE includes a robust set of standard analytical software packages and the ability for the user to request the upload of additional datasets and files (i.e., to merge and analyze in conjunction with ANES data). ICPSR has a team to process applications, usually approving an application within 2 to 4 weeks, and they provide both technical and administrative support.

There are no fees to users for accessing ANES Restricted-Use Data. ANES and its associated funding organizations will cover all fees related to the application process, access to the VDE, and user support. Membership in ICPSR is not required to apply and use ANES Restricted-Use Data.

ANES restricted-use datasets are now listed in the ICPSR catalog. To learn more about what ANES restricted-use data are available, and how to apply to ICPSR for access to them, you can visit the following link on the ANES website:

If you have questions, and for additional information about how to submit your application, you can visit the ICPSR website at:
You can also contact ICPSR with questions by emailing [email protected] or telephoning +1-734-647-2200.

For users interested in accessing restricted-use datasets from the ANES 2020 Time Series Study, we anticipate that those files will be added to the ICPSR catalog and available to be applied for within approximately two weeks from the date of this message.

Thank you for your patience during the pandemic and this transition period and thank you for your support and use of the ANES.

Ted Brader
Principal Investigator
University of Michigan