Access to data

Access to the Research Data Service's data holdings is dependent on ethical requirements for protecting research participants, as well as on legal agreements between the RDS and the owners, funders or in the case of data owned by the HSRC, the requirements of the depositors of the data.

We provide metadata records which describe data sets, as well as related documentation including read me files, user guides, code books, questionnaires and other related information so that informed decisions can be made about whether the data will be useful for an intended purpose.


Data can be located by browsing or through the use of an advanced search or a keyword search facility.


Information is made available according to four access levels applicable to both the metadata and electronic files. Icons next to each document or data file indicate the applicable level of access.


The viewing and downloading of data sets and related documents are part of an automated system. Some of the resources are available in open access, but access to others is subject to a login as part of either a registration or an approval process.


A first time user will be required to provide contact information and will be sent a password via email which can then be used to log into the system.


Once logged in, for all resources which are not available in open access, the system will request details about the intended use. The resource will be provided following the capturing of the reason for use or if a restricted resource is selected, the system will forward an access request to the Research Data Service staff who will request approval on behalf of the user. When access to a restricted resource is granted, a user will be informed via email.