Instructions on how to download and order data

  1. Locate the study you require using the Data Catalogue. To check the access conditions for the selected study click the ‘Access’ tab.
  2. Select ‘Add to account’ to add the study to your account*. If you are not yet registered with the UK Data Service, you will be prompted to do this at this stage. Further information can be found on our FAQs on registration and login page.
  3. To review the studies you have added to your account, click the ‘My account’ link at the top of the screen. Your account will show the datasets that are waiting to be added to a project.
  4. Select the datasets that you wish to add to a project. You can add these to an existing project or create a new one.
  5. There are three ways to classify the way our data is used: non-commercial for research projects or student dissertations; commercial for projects where the main purpose is to generate an income; and teaching for use within a classroom setting. Find further information in How can I use UK Data Service data for my project?
  6. When creating a new project, enter a title and abstract providing as much detail as possible to describe your intended use of the data. Please note: this information may be shared with the data owners.
  7. When your datasets have been added to your project, their status will either be ‘Active’ or ‘Request access’. If ‘Active’, use the ‘Action’ button to download the data. If ‘Request access’, click this button to view further details, and then ‘Complete actions’ to view the actions required to gain access to this dataset.
  8. Click each of the action steps in turn and follow the instructions, e.g. accept any special conditions that are displayed, or download and complete the forms that are required.
  9. When all steps are complete, the status will be ‘Active’ and you can follow the ‘Action’ button to download the data.
  10. Select the download format required and the download will begin.

*Please note: If the study you require has a study number beginning ’85’, please refer to our page on How to access ReShare data.

Further help

Datasets in our main collection are usually made available in three standard formats – SPSS, Stata and TAB (tab-delimited). For information on these formats, please visit what download and data formats are available.


Order Special Licence data

To request access to Special Licence data:

  1. Add the required dataset(s) to a project via your account.
  2. The status will be shown as ‘Request access’. Click this button to view the steps required to gain access to this dataset.
  3. Click each of the steps in turn and follow the instructions displayed, e.g. accept any special conditions, or download the forms that are required.
  4. When you have downloaded and completed the Special Licence form it must be returned to the UK Data Service Helpdesk. The form will then be checked and we will inform you of any changes that are required. Once complete the form will be sent to the data owner for approval.
  5. The steps displayed will be marked with a tick once complete – these steps are manually updated by our team when they process your form, so don’t worry if they don’t show as ticked straightaway.
  6. Once your application is approved you will be notified that the data are available for you to download, and the dataset status will be ‘Active’.
  7. Follow the ‘Action’ button to download the data.

Please note: Special Licence data cannot be used for teaching purposes or commercial use.


Order data from a non-UK archive

To order data from a non-UK archive, e.g. ICPSR

  1. Log in to your account.
  2. Select a Project, or create a new one.
  3. Click the ‘Datasets’ tab.
  4. Within the ‘Special requests’ part of the screen, click ‘Add special request’.
  5. Enter a brief summary of your request.
  6. Enter a full description of the datasets you require, including study numbers and titles, as well as the format(s) that you require us to provide the data in.
  7. Click ‘Save’ to submit your request.
  8. Contact the UK Data Service Helpdesk to alert them to your special request.
  9. We will contact you with further information once the data have been obtained on your behalf.

Please note: The special request option should not be used to request bespoke sub-sets of data that are already held within our collection; we will not be able to action requests of this nature.


Controlled data

Users interested in applying for access to controlled data via the UK Data Service Secure Lab should refer to Secure Lab application requirements for details on how to apply for access to these data.