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Apr 16 -- The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES), an independent federal statistical agency housed within the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), is responsible for the collection, analysis, and dissemination of data on the science and engineering enterprise (S&E). NCSES’s primary role originated in the NSF Act of 1950 (42 U.S.C. 1862 (a) (6)): To provide a central clearinghouse for the collection, interpretation, and analysis of data on scientific and engineering resources and to provide a source of information for policy formulation by other agencies of the federal government.

In 2017, the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking recommended the establishment of a National Secure Data Service (NSDS) to facilitate access to data for evidence building while ensuring privacy and transparency in how those data are used. The Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 (Evidence Act) authorized an Advisory Committee on Data for Evidence Building (ACDEB) to review, analyze, and make recommendations on how to promote the use of federal data for evidence building. To that end, the ACDEB Year 2 report casts a vision for the role of the National Secure Data Service and maps out the data service’s organizational structure, technical infrastructure, and functions to actualize this vision.

The CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 authorized NSF to establish a five-year National Secure Data Service Demonstration Project, or NSDS-D, operated directly or via a contract by NCSES.  Additional information on the NSDS-D can be found at: https://ncses.nsf.gov/about/national-secure-data-service-demo.

A future NSDS would provide a platform of shared services to streamline and innovate data access, data linkage, and privacy-protections to support expanded data use. Collaboration with all levels of government — including state, local, and tribal governments, as well as non-government stakeholders — will be critical in developing this data ecosystem. The goal of an NSDS is to support research and decision-making through the use of data, with particular emphasis on decisions about public programs and policy. To support this vision, investments to enhance innovations for data linking, data protection, and streamlining processes across the federal government will be critical. The NSDS Demonstration Project will inform decisions about whether an NSDS will be established and what form it will take, determine which shared services are needed and will be most effective, and identify resources and innovations to support a possible future NSDS.

Objective of this Request for Information (RFI). This RFI encourages response from a broad and diverse group of communities, including but not limited to individuals and organizations that conduct work in research, policy, program, and education. The goal is to gather current and anticipated research, policy, program, and education use cases for an NSDS, and to also identify current and anticipated challenges and barriers that could be addressed through the use of an NSDS. This RFI does not invite research proposals.

Use of the information gathered. The information gathered in this request will be used by federal agencies participating in the NSDS-D to better target and shape the design of a future NSDS. Participating federal agencies reserve the right to publicly post aggregate analyses based on the RFI on a government website; personally identifiable information from the individual responses will not be disclosed. It is recommended that submitters not include proprietary or other sensitive information in the response. The primary submitter may be contacted for more information or clarification.

How to respond to this RFI. Individuals and groups of individuals in all research, policy, program, and education domains are invited to submit responses.


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