Resources designed to spearhead and support the interdisciplinary research launched by the Pop Center’s faculty members, postdoctoral fellows and affiliated researchers are provided by the Research Core. The Research Core is comprised of a team of specialists that offer a comprehensive array of services including:
Research core staff can assist you in ensuring that your project meets all data security, institutional review board (IRB), and confidentiality requirements.
Secondary analysis of data is an important facet of research here at the Pop Center. Much like a project that collects primary data, secondary analyses must comply with Harvard IRB and data security requirements, as well as the data use policies stipulated by the data provider.
Typically, the first step in the process is to apply for IRB approval, exemption, or determination as Not Human Subjects research. The Office of Human Research Administration at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health handles IRB issues for the Pop Center. ESTR (Electronic Submission, Tracking & Reporting) is Harvard University’s electronic IRB submission system. For more information on the IRB process, please contact Mack Ramsey.
IRB approval will produce a letter, as well as a determination of data security level for the research project. This level specifies how the research data should be stored and handled to comply with the Harvard Research Data Security Policy. For more information about research data security, please contact Livia Montana.
Once an IRB has approved the research, often a Data Use Agreement (DUA) must be established between the data provider and the researcher and/or researcher’s institution. In early 2019 an online extension of ESTR for handling DUAs was created at dua.harvard.edu. For assistance navigating, please contact Livia Montana or Mack Ramsey.
Primary data collection must also occur in compliance with IRB and research data security policy, and the above information equally applies. IRB approval for human subjects research is often a more lengthy process than secondary analysis, and Pop Center staff can assist. Once data collection has concluded, we have a robust system for data dissemination, coordinating with SPA for outgoing data use contracts, and utilizing the IQSS Dataverse as a research data sharing platform.
Primary data collection must also be conducted in compliance with IRB and research data security policy. Full board review for human subjects research is a somewhat lengthier process than for secondary analysis.
Once data collection has concluded, we have a robust system for data dissemination, coordinating with SPA for outgoing data use contracts, and utilizing the IQSS Dataverse as a research data sharing platform.
The infrastructure provided by the Pop Center’s Research Core enables our affiliates to achieve their research agendas by leveraging the many resources available at the Center, as well as at the University at large—from physical computing resources to data storage and transfer.
The Pop Center has teamed up with the Harvard-MIT Data Center (HMDC) and The Institute for Quantitative Social Science (IQSS) to provide high-quality computing and training resources. The Research Computer Environment (RCE), hosted by the HMDC, is a remotely accessible computing cluster and file-sharing platform. Software available on the RCE computing cluster includes: SAS, Stata (SE and MP), R, Matlab, and Mathematica. Computationally intensive jobs may be run either interactively or in batch mode to maximize the cluster’s resource. Users upload datasets and other files via an FTP client, to either personal directories, or shared project spaces. The Pop Center manages several shared spaces on behalf of research projects at the Center.
If you are a Pop Center affiliate and would like access to the RCE, please contact Mack Ramsey.
IQSS has a number of resources designed to help researchers at Harvard achieve their analytic agendas. These include the Dataverse platform, research technology consulting, and training opportunities. The Center for Geographic Analysis, part of the IQSS, offers an array of software to Pop Center affiliates at no charge.
The Pop Center houses a certified data enclave, one of the few offered on the Harvard campus, complete with security controls in compliance with the Harvard Research Data Security Policy for level 4 data. The enclave is swipe-access controlled, and a Pop Center affiliate must go through an approval process to acquire access and and a computer user account. Enclave computers are isolated from the general Harvard network structure and are appropriate for working with HRCI and other sensitive human subjects research data.
If you are a Pop Center affiliate and would like access to the data enclave, please contact Mack Ramsey.