Helping you help yourself

Our website has been designed to enable you to access the datasets you require in the most straightforward way possible.

However, we appreciate many of our users will have complex requirements, so below we have listed answers to the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about registration and login. If you cannot find the answer you are looking for, please contact our Helpdesk using our online help form.


How do I access data?

An increasing number of our datasets are available without the need for you to register with the UK Data Service. These are known as ‘open data’.

Other datasets are potentially more sensitive and are subject to different access policies. If the dataset you would like to access is classified as ‘safeguarded’, you will need to register online with the UK Data Service. If the dataset is ‘controlled’, you will have to register and satisfy a number of other requirements. For further information, see the UK Data Service data access policy.

To search our data catalogue, try adding some search terms in the search box.

Did this answer your question? If not, please submit a query using our online help form.


I’m looking for a specific type of data, how do I find it?

Our help section provides information on the different types of data available through the UK Data Service. This is a good starting point for a wealth of established UK social surveys relating to areas such as population trends, the workplace, health and crime. In this section, you will also find links to cross-national surveys, business data and the census.

If you still can’t find what you are looking for, then you can search our data catalogue by adding some search terms in the search box.

Did this answer your question? If not, please submit a query using our online help form.


I’m looking for ready-made statistics, do you have these?

The UK Data Service provides researchers with raw datasets and does not offer ready-made statistics.

However, we have put together useful links to other data providers in a dedicated set of pages on ‘Other data providers’ within the help section, which may help you find the statistics you are looking for or provide useful information about a particular subject area.

These statistics are generated by providers such as the Office of National Statistics (ONS), other Government departments and well-known institutions.

Did this answer your question? If not, please submit a query using our online help form.


I’m having trouble logging in; or I need to reset my password

If you have forgotten the password associated with your UK Data Archive username, or you would like to change your password, you can reset your password.

If you have forgotten your SecureLab password, you can request a new one by contacting our Technical Support team

If you would like to change your SecureLab password, you can do this yourself at the SecureLab login page, but please contact Technical Support if you are experiencing any difficulties.

Did this answer your question? If not, please submit a query using our online help form.


I’m having trouble logging into Secure Lab

SecureLab login issues may occur for a number of reasons, here are the most common:

  • Your login details aren’t correct, or you have forgotten them. If this is the case, please contact our Technical Support team.
  • SecureLab is taken offline for maintenance every Tuesday morning between 10an and 12.30pm – if you have been trying to login during this period, please try again after 12.30pm.
  • The IP address of your machine may have changed. If this is the case, please contact our Technical Support team, who will run checks and help you.

Did this answer your question? If not, please submit a query using our online help form.


My account has expired, how do I renew it?

If your account has expired, you simply have to re-register with us. Registrations will remain active on a two-year rolling basis, so as long as you login regularly, or at least once every two years, your account will be active and accessible.

How to register online.

Did this answer your question? If not, please submit a query using our online help form.


Can I access secure data from outside the UK?

With the exception of Understanding Society: Waves 1-9, 2009-2018 and Harmonised BHPS: Waves 1-18, 1991-2009: Secure Access (SN 6676), which is available to affiliated researchers accessing from the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) in Nuremberg, Germany, our Secure Access datasets can only be accessed from within the UK.

Did this answer your question? If not, please submit a query using our online help form.


Are your data free to access?

Yes – our data collections can be downloaded free of charge, if you intend to use them for non-commercial purposes.

Did this answer your question? If not, please submit a query using our online help form.


Do I have to pay if I want to access data for commercial use?

If your use of the data doesn’t fall under our definition of a non-commercial use, then you would need to pay. The fee levied is an administrative charge and you would not be buying the data.

In these cases, the UK Data Service will need to create a commercial agreement and obtain permission from the data owner(s) before access can be provided.

More information can be found on our How can I use your data for my project page.

Did this answer your question? If not, please submit a query using our online help form.


I’m researching my family history, can you help?

We are unfortunately unable to help you track down family members, as our service primarily supports social and economic research, but we do have some historical population data that may be useful, particularly on our Histpop site. We also provide links to better sources for family history research.

Did this answer your question? If not, please submit a query using our online help form.


When registering – what usernames and passwords are acceptable to the UK Data Service?

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 institution 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 institution.

If your institution is not a member of the UKAMF or you are a personal user, you will need to apply for a username from the UK Data Service.


How do I obtain a username and password?

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 username.


When registering I entered an incorrect email address, what should I do?

If you entered an incorrect email address, you can change this using the ‘Edit details’ option in the ‘Details’ section of your account.


How do I log into the UK Data Service?

From any UK Data Service page:

  1. Click the ‘Login‘ button.
  2. Select your organisation or start typing the name of your organisation where indicated on the login page. If we have issued you a username (beginning ‘ukd’), either enter ‘UK Data Archive’ as your organisation, or use the quick link for users with ‘ukd’ usernames under the ‘continue’ button.
    If your organisation is not found, please apply for a username, then follow the instructions on the ‘Application for a username’ page.
  3. Enter your username and password.
  4. If you have already registered with the UK Data Service, you will then be logged into your account. From here you can access your personal details, your project details, and order history. If you have not yet registered, you will be prompted to do so at this point.

When I try to log in/register my organisation does not appear on the list, what should I do?

If you are trying to log in using a username beginning ‘ukd’, you will need to select ‘UK Data Archive’ as your organisation or follow the quick link for users with a ‘ukd’ username, found under the ‘Continue’ button on the ‘Login’ web page.


How do I log into the Secure Lab?

You can only log in to the SecureLab if you are an approved and trained researcher with a current research project and been provided with a username and password for the SecureLab. If you have been granted access to Controlled access data, watch our video tutorial, How to log in to the Secure Lab, for information on how to log into your SecureLab account.


How do I login/register to ReShare?

First time depositors or users of ReShare must first register with the UK Data Service using federated access management user authentication. Use your UK HE/FE institutional login credentials (institutional username and password), after selecting your institution from the drop-down list.

If you are not at a UK institution of HE/FE, you can apply for a username. Use this username to log in to ReShare using federated access management user authentication, selecting the UK Data Archive as your institution or using the quick link for users with a ‘ukd’ username found under the ‘Continue’ button on the ‘Login’ web page.

After registration you can go and login to the ReShare repository.


When I try to login to ReShare, I am sent to the UK Data Service registration page, although I have already registered, what do I do?

This can be either when you want to deposit a data collection or want to download a data collection. If you get stuck in a loop from ReShare to the UK Data Service registration page, please close your browser (all tabs), clear your history and cache. Then try to login again. If this doesn’t work, please try a different browser.


I am outside the UK, can I use your data?

Yes. If you are outside the UK, you will need apply for a 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 ‘Access’ tab for any access restrictions.

Note: If you are not at a UK HE/FE institution, a username issued by the UK Data Service will not entitle you to access certain data, e.g. the International Energy Agency (IEA) datasets.


Is there a guide to registering?

See Registration guidance in the Help section for details on registering and accessing our data.


What should I do if I forget my username and/or password?

If you are using a username and password issued by your organisation, contact your local IT helpdesk, library, or e-resources administrator for help. If you are using a username issued by the UK Data Service, and beginning with ‘ukd’, you can ask for 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, contact the helpdesk and we will send you a reminder.


How do I renew my UK Data Service registration?

Your registration with the UK Data Service will not expire if you log in regularly. If you don’t log in for two years, your account will be deactivated and you will need to reregister. We will email you a reminder before your account is deactivated.


My browser is not set up to allow cookies, can I still use this service?

You need to accept cookies to use the UK Data Service and UK Data Archive. The most common reason for not being able to log in is that cookies are blocked on your PC.

To check whether your computer is set up to accept cookies, or to change the current settings:

  • Firefox: Go to Options -> Privacy. Under History, select Firefox will: ‘Use custom settings for history’ -> Accept cookies from sites.
  • Internet Explorer: Go to Tools -> Internet Options -> Privacy -> Advanced, and ‘Accept’ cookies.
  • Opera: Go to Settings -> Quick Preferences -> Enable cookies.

What is federated access management?

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 organisation.

In order to use federated access management, an organisation 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.


Federated access management – technical information for identity providers/institutions

User accountability:

Organisations within the UK federation have the opportunity to assert that, where unique persistent attributes are associated with a user, they will make sure 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 which requires knowledge of the identity of a user in case there is a breach of its terms and conditions. Also some data collections require an agreement to special conditions before we can allow access. Only users attached to Federation Identity Providers Asserting User Accountability can gain access to any service which relies on the assertion of user accountability.

Attributes:

For access to UK Data Service/UK Data Archive resources, organisations must release the following attributes to https://safari.data-archive.ac.uk//shibboleth-sp:

  • eduPersonScoped Affiliation: a user’s organisational affiliation. The unscoped value of eduPersonScopedAffiliation must be member or equivalent (i.e. student, staff, faculty or employee)
  • eduPersonTargetedID: a persistent user pseudonym for personalisation

WAYFless URLs:

The UK Access Management Federation login page is known as the ‘Where Are You From (WAYF)’ page. Organisations 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 organisations by replacing the reference to ‘idp.shef.ac.uk‘ as appropriate for your organisation:

Example of WAYFless access to the UK Data Service via Sheffield University

https://vosp.data-archive.ac.uk/Shibboleth.sso/Login?entityID=https://idp.shef.ac.uk/shibboleth&target=https%3A%2F%2Fvosp.data-archive.ac.uk%2Fidp%2Fproxy.jsp%3Ftarget=https%3A%2F%2Fsp.ukdataservice.ac.uk%2Fsecure%2Fproxy.asp?target=https%3A%2F%2Fbeta.ukdataservice.ac.uk%%202FUmbraco%2FSurface%2FLogin%2FAuthenticateUser?redirect=/MyAccount


Why do I get an ‘Unauthorised organisation’ message?

If you get this message it means the organisation supplying your login credentials is not authorised. Organisations in the UK Access Management Federation have the opportunity to assert that, where unique persistent attributes are associated with a user, they will make sure 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.


Why do I get an ‘Authorisation failed’ message?

For access to UK Data Service/UK Data Archive resources, your organisation must provide you the following credentials, in the correct format:

  • eduPersonTargetedID
  • eduPersonScopedAffiliation

You can check which attributes are being released for your account by your organisation at the ZETOC website. Select your organisation from the relevant dropdown list and log in using your institutional details.

Check that the ‘TargetedID’ details are ‘released’.

If the required attributes are not being released, contact your IT helpdesk or e-resources administrator for further assistance.

Users from organisations that have recently upgraded may have 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.


What is Single Sign On?

Single Sign On (SSO) allows you to enter user credentials only once to gain subsequent access to a number of disparate resources. Once logged in you may access any SSO services which you are entitled to without logging in again in any one browser session. A browser session lasts for eight hours or until you close your browser window.


Why am I transferred to the login prompt several times/cannot log in to your services?

You need to accept cookies to use Single Sign On. The most common reason for not being able to log in is that cookies are blocked on your PC. Check our cookie information to see whether cookies are enabled.


Why do I get an error message/blank screen when trying to log into Nesstar?

You may see 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 don’t accept cookies. We suggest using Firefox, or, if you use Internet Explorer, to get permission from your IT helpdesk and 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, registered users need to log in to the UK Data Service website before searching the Nesstar pages.