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The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) of the National Science Foundation (NSF) is in charge of developing the standard application process (SAP), the federal statistical system’s effort at transitioning to a streamlined approach researchers can use to apply for access to restricted federal data.

NCSES has launched a beta version of the SAP Portal (also known as ResearchDataGov) that will allow potential applicants to discover and apply for access to restricted-use data from the 16 principal statistical agencies and units. It is looking for testers to explore the site on their own and provide feedback prior to the SAP Portal’s official launch.  

The SAP is a new process for discovering and applying for access to restricted federal microdata. The application system for the SAP was launched in a testing environment on September 20, 2022.

Details of Beta Testing: Beta testing can take as little or as much time as you prefer, and you may interact with the testing site at any time during the testing dates. Here are some important details:  

Beta Testing Environment: https://rdg-ui-rdg-uat.apps.cluster0.ocp.icpsr.umich.edu/
Dates for testing: 09/20/2022 - 10/07/2022
Feedback: Testers should provide feedback by clicking the "Beta Testing Feedback" button in the upper right-hand corner.

Purpose: The purpose of beta testing is to try out the functionality of the site and make sure that end users can use the SAP Portal to discover data and apply for access. Feedback is especially requested for the following questions:

-- Is the system clear and intuitive to use?
-- Did you feel confused at any points?  
-- Were you able to complete all the tasks you needed to?
-- Were you unable to complete any needed tasks? What prevented you from doing so?  
 
Beta Testing Guidance
The following tasks are suggested for testers. While you are not required to complete all the suggested tasks, the SAP Portal development team is looking for feedback on user’s experience in completing these tasks:  

Tester Tasks

-- Search for data assets of interest (note that you may apply for data from one agency or from multiple agencies).
-- Complete and submit an application requesting data from a single agency
-- Complete and submit an application for multiple applicants (i.e., a team of researchers)
-- Complete and submit an application requesting data from multiple agencies.  
-- If you have previously submitted an application for restricted use data, copy your previous responses to the relevant application field (removing personal information about the applicants) and see if the application functions correctly (ex. is there enough space for all of the text?)

You may be asked to revise and resubmit your application, depending on whether it is selected by a reviewer tester and, if so, how they respond to the criteria. It is up to you whether you go back and make changes.  

Please see the Beta Testing Guides for Applicants for complete instructions on beta testing. https://www.dropbox.com/s/xp9r7ii30iw3zes/RDG%20Beta%20Release%20Testing%20Guide%20for%20Applicants.docx.pdf?dl=0

Please note that, although these applications are for testing purposes only, applicants and reviewers will be able to interact with each other in the beta testing environment, as they will when the site goes live. That is, an applicant’s submitted application will be sent to the data-owning agency’s testing environment, where it will be visible to beta testers in the application reviewer role. You may upload random files from your computer in response to some questions because you are testing functionality, but it is best not to use files containing sensitive or confidential information. Reviewers can approve or reject applications or ask applicants to revise and resubmit. If an application is submitted to multiple agencies, reviewers from those agencies will be able to see the application. Applicants and reviewers may revisit the beta testing environment at any time during the testing period. If you are an applicant tester, you may receive feedback from a reviewer tester at some point during the beta testing period.  

Please note that neither the applications submitted nor the reviews conducted on the beta testing system are valid requests or determinations for data access. Testers do not have to submit their own personal information or real research projects.

Point of contact: John Finamore, Chief Statistician, NCSES jfinamor@nsf.gov

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