The Researcher Passport: A Digital Credential to Improve Restricted Data Access

Research report


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Published date: January 1, 2019

Author: Margaret Levenstein, Allison Tyler, Johanna Bleckman

Subject tag: Data Access | Privacy and data protection

To solve these challenges and promote a research community with a shared understanding of the needs of researchers and repositories, ICPSR is developing the Researcher Passport. This digital identifier captures verified information about the user, which, when shared within and across the community of restricted data repositories, can minimize the time-consuming and redundant identity verification step of the data access request process. Information about the user will be embedded within the Researcher Passport through a system of open badges which indicate verified and unverified identity information, completed training, and prior experience with restricted data. Based on a matrix of user criteria, users will be granted a Researcher Passport of a certain level (e.g., tin, bronze, silver, gold, or platinum) that serves as a measure of trust, commensurate with the passport holder’s credentials. This passport level is then used by the data repository in evaluating the data access request. If the passport level and the project meet the repository requirements, the repository issues a Visa that authorizes the Passport holder to access the desired data in a particular computing environment for a specified period of time.
[This entry was sourced with minor edits from the Carnegie Endowment’s Partnership for Countering Influence Operations and its baseline datasets initiative. You can find more information here:]