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The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) is the world's largest collection of digital social science data. These data can be used for secondary research, instructional activities, and to write articles, papers or theses. ICPSR data cover topics from sociology, political science, economics, demography, education, child care, health care, crime, minority populations, aging, terrorism, substance abuse, mental health, public policy, and international relations.

The College of Behavioral and Social Sciences (BSOS) and the University Libraries have partnered to provide campus-wide access to ICPSR for data access so that faculty, staff, and students can easily access data for coursework and research. The ICPSR membership is available to current Faculty and Students at the University of Maryland (College Park campus only). Data retrieved from ICPSR may be used only for research that is to be performed by and used for the purposes of the University of Maryland. ICPSR data may not be redistributed to others, nor may it be used for the advancement of any institution other than the University of Maryland. Individual datasets may have further restrictions regarding use, sharing, and citation.

Available Data

Find available data at the ICPSR website. Some studies are freely available, while most studies require membership in ICPSR for access. There are studies that are wholly or partially restricted from viewing and use, generally for security/privacy concerns, and these studies will contain information about those restrictions in the study documentation.

Note that some data sets have additional restrictions on use and access. The user is responsible for performing any procedures required to lift additional restrictions.

All data files arrive in compressed ZIP format from ICPSR and you will need to decompress the files prior to using them. This format is can be decompressed using decompression software such as WinZip, 7-zip, Unarchiver, or various command line utilities. Electronic codebook files are generally available as PDF files, text files (TXT), or Microsoft Word documents (DOC or DOCX).

There are several types of files that can be included with any data set:

  • Data file(s). Contains the raw data information
  • Codebook file. Describes the dataset, its variables, their locations, etc
  • SPSS file. Typically reads variables into SPSS
  • SAS file. Typically reads variables into SAS
  • R file. Typically reads variables into R
  • Data Dictionary
  • Manifest. Typically contains a list of all data files with checksums, number of records/variables, etc
  • Terms of Use. Outlines the responsibilities of the user who downloaded the dataset

ICPSR MyData Account

A MyData account is required to access many of the features that ICPSR provides. Log in or create a MyData Account - you may also use your ORCID to log in.

Creating a MyData account will enable the following features:

  • Download data and use online analysis tool
  • Download data available only to ICPSR members
  • Generate utilization reports and download statistics
  • Update your account profile and settings

Contact us:

Official Representative

Data Services Librarian

Designated Representative

Yishan Ding
Statistical Consulting GA

Notification of Interruption

The UMD Libraries have received reports of interruptions to off-campus access to Member-restricted data in ICPSR. ICPSR is now using email address verification for off-campus access.

Please refer to the following troubleshooting steps to resolve the issue.

  1. Log into or create your ICPSR MyData account.
    • Use your UMD email address when creating a new MyData account.
    • Confirm membership affiliation on your MyData Dashboard.
    • If you created your MyData account with a personal email:
      • Update your email to a UMD email address at MyData Dashboard → Account Details.
      • Confirm membership affiliation.
  2. Proceed with downloading a member-restricted dataset.
  3. If you are still unable to download member-restricted datasets:

Updated: February 12, 2021

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