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Policy and Procedures

The following information is provided for researchers who have received approval for their projects.

Pricing Policy

There are substantial financial costs involved in operating a Census Research Data Center. The CCRDC has limited funding and must be self-supporting through the collection of user fees. For most researchers, the cost of using the RDC will be directly related to the amount of time the researcher needs to complete their project.

Standard Rates for Research Data Center Access
Please contact the Executive Director at the RDC where you would like to work for information about RDC fees.

The rates for RDC access are based on an estimate of the real costs incurred by the RDC to support a project. The rate is $3,125 per month for a full-time seat. However, most projects do not require full-time access and the rate is prorated based on the amount of time needed to conduct the project. For example, a project that requires a 40% level of access (approximately two days per week) for a period of one year would cost $15,000. Researchers who need to submit a proposal to obtain funding for their project are encouraged to use the $15,000-per-year amount as this is the amount of time typically requested by an average project. There is a minimum fee of $7500 because even shorter research project require significant time and effort from CCRDC staff to help with proposal development, security measures, and required paperwork. Researchers may contact the CCRDC to obtain a more detailed cost estimate for their proposed project.

Due to the startup time involved in most RDC projects it is unlikely that any part-time research project could be completed in less than three months. This is because the data is usually in a form that is more raw than researchers expect. Extensions are rarely granted for projects using economic or administrative record data. Thus, it is better to overestimate a bit than to risk running out of time before the research is completed.

Additional Fees
Additional fees may be charged to projects that use data sets outside the core or that impose other special costs on CES, the Census Bureau, or the RDC.

General Information

Obtaining Special Sworn Status
Researchers are required to obtain special sworn status prior to beginning research at the California Census Research Data Center. To obtain special sworn status, researchers must be fingerprinted, make a sworn statement in the presence of a notary public, and provide additional information for background checks. Once completed, this process establishes the researcher as a temporary uncompensated employee of the U.S. Census Bureau. While working on projects at the CCRDC, researchers should consider themselves to be temporary uncompensated Census Bureau employees.

Researcher Agreements
Researchers with approved projects sign an agreement with the University of California and the Center for Economic Studies that stipulates the conditions under which data may be accessed at the Research Data Center. Any violation of the terms of this agreement will result in the termination of the project.

Disclosure Analysis
All statistical output researchers that is removed from the CCRDC must undergo disclosure analysis prior to removal. No printed or other output may be removed from the research data center without approval from the RDC administrator. Coordinating disclosure analysis with the RDC administrator with sufficient lead time before conference presentations or submission of journal articles is the responsibility of the researcher.

Post-Project Certification
All approved projects submit with their proposal a description of the benefits their project will provide to the Census Bureau.  At the end of the every project, a write-up must describing how the promised benefits were provided (or in some cases, why the researchers were not able to provide them).  Please remember that, under the U.S. Code, Title 13, Chapter 5, the Census Bureau is allowed to give the confidential data to researchers ONLY if the project will provide suitable benefits to the Bureau.  Thus, documenting the benefits your project provided is VERY important.  Researchers not completing this description of benefits will NOT be approved for future projects.

Discussion Papers
Researchers are required to submit to the Center for Economic Studies a working paper describing the results of work completed at the California Census Research Data Center. Submission of a working paper does not preclude publication elsewhere. If a working paper has been published elsewhere, researchers are encouraged to contact CES with the new citation, and the working paper will be removed from circulation.  For reference, please see the CES Working Papers Series.

Disclaimer
The following disclaimer must be included with all researchers' publications resulting from use of data at the California Census Research Data Center:

"This paper (chapter) reports the results of research and analysis undertaken while the author(s) was a research affiliate at the Center for Economic Studies at the U.S. Bureau of the Census. It has undergone a Census Bureau review more limited in scope than that given to official Census Bureau publications.  Research results and conclusions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily indicate concurrence by the Census Bureau."

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