Answers to some of our most frequently asked questions are provided here.
If you are unable to find an answer to your question, please get in touch by selecting one of the short web forms.
From any UK Data Service page:
You can only log in to the Secure Lab if you are an approved and trained researcher with a research project that is currently running. View our video tutorial, How to log in to the Secure Lab, to show researchers who have been granted approval to use secure access level data how to log into their Secure Lab account.
If you are based at a UK institution of higher or further education (UK HE/FE) you can register using the username and password provided by your institution.
If your organisation is part of the UK Access Management Federation (UKAMF) and is on this list of federation members, you can register using the username and password provided by your organisation.
If your organisation is not a member of the UKAMF or you are a personal user, then you will need to apply for a UK Data Archive username and password to enable you to register with us. See Registration for further details.
If you are based at a UK institution of higher or further education (UK HE/FE), you will need to contact your library, IT helpdesk or e-resources administrator. Your institutional web pages or intranet may also contain useful information on how to obtain a username and password.
If you are not at a UK institution of HE/FE, or are not associated with any organisation, you can apply for a UK Data Archive username and password at Application for a UK Data Archive username.
Note: If you are not at a UK HE/FE institution, a UK Data Archive username and password will not entitle you to access certain data, e.g. international macrodata.
Yes you can. If you are outside the UK you will need to apply for a UK Data Archive username and password at Application for a UK Data Archive username, and then register with the UK Data Service. However, some data collections are not available for non UK users so check the catalogue record for any access restrictions.
Note: If you are not at a UK HE/FE institution, a UK Data Archive username and password will not entitle you to access certain data, e.g. international macrodata
See our How to access section for details on registering and accessing our data.
If you are using a username and password issued to you by your institution you should contact your local IT helpdesk, library, or e-resources administrator for help. If you are using a username and password issued by the UK Data Archive, and beginning with 'ukd', you can request a reminder from the 'UK Data Archive' login screen. This screen will be displayed after you have entered 'UK Data Archive' as your organisation during the login process. If you have problems requesting these details please contact the helpdesk and a reminder will be sent to you.
If you log in to your account within ten months after your expiry date, you will automatically be taken into the page containing your registered details. If you then click 'Submit' your registration will be renewed for a further 12 months. If it is more than ten months since your registration expired, you will be asked to provide some personal information, including the email address you originally registered with. If the information entered matches our records an email will be sent to you containing a link to renew your registration.
If you are logging in using a username beginning 'ukd' you will need to select 'UK Data Archive' as your organisation. If you are logging in using a username issued to you by a UK HE/FE institution, or an organisation which is part of the UK Access Management Federation, contact the helpdesk and ask for your organisation to be included on the list.
The UK Data Service and UK Data Archive require that cookies are accepted on your PC. The most common reason for not being able to log in is that cookies are being blocked on your PC.
To check whether your computer is set up to accept cookies, or to change the current settings:
Federated access management (e.g. shibboleth) allows users to securely access external services using the same username and password they use to access local services at their own institution.
In order to use federated access management, an institution must join the UK Access Management Federation and either implement Identity Provider software, or outsource that provision to a third party (e.g. Eduserv using OpenAthens).
Federated access management user authentication (shibboleth) has been implemented for UK Data Service and UK Data Archive services.
Organisations within the UK federation have the opportunity to assert that, where unique persistent attributes are associated with a user, they will ensure that these attribute values are not re-issued to another user for at least 24 months after the last possible use by the previous user.
The UK Data Service and the UK Data Archive provide a one-stop registration service for multiple distributed service providers and this service requires knowledge of the identity of a user in case there is a breach of its terms and conditions. Also some data collections held require an agreement to special conditions before access is allowed. Only users attached to Federation Identity Providers Asserting User Accountability can gain access to any service reliant upon the assertion of user accountability.
For access to UK Data Service/UK Data Archive resources, institutions must release the following attributes to https://safari.data-archive.ac.uk/shibboleth-sp:
The UK Access Management Federation login page is known as the 'Where Are You From (WAYF)' page. Institutions using the UK Access Management Federation can bypass both the UK Data Service login page and the WAYF page. The following example shows the WAYFless URLs for the University of Sheffield. These can be adapted for other institutions by replacing the initial 'idp.shef.ac.uk' as appropriate:
UK Data Service (formerly ESDS):
Please note that our login process is using the ESDS domain so the reference to this in the URL above is correct.
Organisations upgrading from Shibboleth 1.3 to 2.x should ensure they are releasing the correct format of eduPersonTargetedID, otherwise their users will not be able to access the UK Data Archive/ESDS/Census.ac.uk resources. The UK Access Management Federation have provided the following advice for organisations upgrading a Shibboleth IdP from 1.3 to 2.x:
"When upgrading your Shibboleth 1.3 IdP to 2.x it is important to ensure that the final Shibboleth 2.x installation and registration has the same entity ID as the Shibboleth 1.3 IdP, and that the same Salt string is used to generate the eduPersonTargetedID attribute. This will ensure that the eduPersonTargetedID values released for your users will not change as a result of the upgrade, and this in turn will ensure that users' personalisations and registrations will be retained at SPs after the upgrade".
Extracted from: Configuring a Shibboleth 2.x Identity Provider for the UK Federation.
Please see Upgrade of Shibboleth IdP from 1.3 to 2.x for further information.
If you get this message it means that the organisation supplying your login credentials is not authorised for use with this service. Organisations within the UK Access Management Federation have the opportunity to assert that, where unique persistent attributes are associated with a user, they will ensure that these attribute values are not re-issued to another user for at least 24 months after the last possible use by the previous user.
This acceptance of 'user accountability' is a requirement for access to UK Data Service/UK Data Archive resources. It appears that your organisation does not assert user accountability and is therefore not permitted access. If your organisation is listed at Federation Identity Providers Asserting User Accountability, contact our helpdesk to request access for your organisation. If your organisation is not listed, contact your library, IT helpdesk or e-resources administrator to ask if they are able to assert user accountability.
For access to UK Data Service/UK Data Archive resources your institution must provide the following credentials, in the correct format, for you:
You can check which attributes are being released for your account by your institution at the ZETOC website. Select your institution from the relevant dropdown list and then log in using your institutional details. Check that the 'TargetedID' and 'ScopedAffiliation' details are 'released'. Also, check the prefix for ScopedAffiliation: if this is 'affiliate', 'alum' or anything other than those shown below, you will be unable to log in.
If the required attributes are not being released, or if you think the prefix for ScopedAffiliation is incorrect, contact your IT helpdesk or e-resources administrator for further assistance. Note that attributes should be released to https://safari.data-archive.ac.uk/shibboleth-sp.
Users from institutions that have recently upgraded to Shibboleth 2.x may experience problems if their institution is not releasing the correct form of the eduPersonTargetedID. To check that the correct attributes are being released use the ZETOC website, as described above, and then check that your details include information for the 'Targeted ID (1)' attribute. If no information is shown, contact your library, IT helpdesk or e-resources administrator to ask them to release this information.
Further details are available from Advice for Shibboleth 2.x organisations.
The Athens authentication system is no longer supported by the UK Data Service/UK Data Archive and has been replaced by federated access management.
Single Sign On (SSO) is a system which allows you to enter user credentials only once in order to gain subsequent access to a number of disparate resources. Once logged in you may access any SSO services which you are entitled to access, without logging in again within any one browser session. A browser session lasts for eight hours or until you close your browser window.
The UK Data Service uses Single Sign On which requires that cookies are accepted on your PC. The most common reason for not being able to log in is that cookies are blocked on your PC. To check whether cookies are enabled on your PC check our cookie information.
If you are not at a UK institution of higher or further education and you try to access International macrodata or selected Census datasets, you should see the following message: "Access to these resources is only available to academic users from Higher and Further Education in the United Kingdom." If you think you are receiving this message in error, contact the helpdesk.
Users may receive an error message, or a blank screen, when trying to log in, due to the way in which some institutions have set up their federated access management system. Because Nesstar uses frames, and the frame containing the login dialogue comes from a server other than the surrounding site, some web browsers treat this as a third party site and therefore do not accept cookies from it via the browser's default security settings. Users are advised to try Firefox, or, in the case of Internet Explorer, with the permission of your IT helpdesk, change IE's settings as follows:
Tools -> Internet Options -> Privacy -> Advanced -> Override automatic cookie handling -> Always allow session cookies
As mentioned above, the Nesstar product is built using 'frames' and due to added security measures at certain institutions, users may receive the following error message when logging in: 'This content cannot be displayed in a frame'. In this case it will be necessary for registered users to log in to the UK Data Service website before searching the Nesstar pages.