Posted July 2019

Archiving Grantee Datasets in the Health and Medical Care Archive

As part of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) commitment to transparency, to the importance of access to evidence, and to the field of social science research, the Foundation provides public access to RWJF-supported research data that can be used for the purposes of secondary research by other research institutions and/or individuals. This research data is included in RWJF’s Health and Medical Care Archive (HMCA) at the University of Michigan Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) archive. ICPSR is an international consortium of more than 750 academic institutions and research organizations that provides leadership and training in data access, curation, and methods of analysis for the social science research community. RWJF grant funding supports ICPSR to expand and maintain HMCA by collecting, curating, and preserving RWJF-funded research data, and importantly, providing free and open access to the data in HMCA to foster new use and research with the data.

We also have funded the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at Cornell University to construct a Health Opinion Database that will allow researchers, students, media, nonprofits, policymakers, and the public access to tens of thousands of survey questions from 1935 to the present related to the public’s attitudes about health and influences on health.

The following describes the selection criteria and process for determining which RWJF grantee datasets are appropriate for the HMCA archive and the ICPSR notification process.

Data Archiving Criteria

What Data Are Selected For HMCA Archiving?

​Any primary data being collected by RWJF grantees over the course of their grant that: 1) Holds potential for secondary data analysis; 2) can be made available as public or restricted-use data; 3) was collected using rigorous industry standards; and 4.) meets one or more of the listed criteria below will be considered for archiving.

1. Data are primarily quantitative (excludes focus groups, key informant interviews, or other small-scale or qualitative research);

2. Data are national in scope;

3. Data that are representative of regions or states if other criteria are met:

a. large sample

b. evidence of important variability in outcomes being studied

c. hard to study/small or targeted population that may be of particular interest to researchers;

4. Other, smaller geographies (county, MSA, city, etc.) will be considered only if sample size is large enough to be of interest to, and used by others for secondary data analysis; if it is a validation of previous research linkage to other data collection; or if it is a replication dataset.

Datasets that do not meet the above criteria may still be considered for HMCA if there is a strong case that the dataset holds particular interest to the research community or other groups. These datasets will be reviewed individually by the RWJF-HMCA Program Officer to determine their benefit to the HMCA archive. Such data may include:

1. Data from convenience, purposive, or non-probability samples.

2. Pilot studies and qualitative studies (e.g., focus groups, qualitative interviews).

3. Data with little social science content.

For additional information, please contact your RWJF program officer or ICPSR/HMCA technical assistance.


Research funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and appearing in peer-reviewed journal publications must be made freely and immediately available for all. Read the RWJF Open Access Policy.