The NCATS National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C) Data Enclave represents one of the largest, most secure clinical data resources for accelerating research on COVID-19. It also includes a powerful analytics platform and tool set for online discovery, visualization and collaboration. The data set and analytics capabilities will grow over time.
Below is an overview of the steps required to access the N3C data. These steps include registering with N3C, completing required training and submitting a Data Use Request (DUR). For more details, see the N3C Data Enclave FAQs and N3C Registration Checklist .
Step 1: Determine if a Data Use Agreement has been executed.
Before researchers can request access to the data, their home institutions must have a Data Use Agreement (DUA) in place with NCATS. If researchers attempt to register with the N3C before a DUA is executed, they will be notified that their requests will not be reviewed until their institution has a DUA in place. Citizen scientists not associated with an institution will need to complete their own DUA with NCATS. For more details about the DUA, including a list of institutions with an executed DUA, see the N3C Data Access Forms and Resources page.
Step 2: Register with N3C.
Once a DUA is in place, researchers need to register with N3C. During registration, researchers can request an N3C Data Enclave account. Upon approval, researchers will receive an email with directions for signing into their N3C Data Enclave account.
Step 3: Log into the N3C Data Enclave.
Following the directions provided in the account creation email, researchers need to log into the N3C Data Enclave to access their account and resources for learning about using the N3C Data Enclave. Having an N3C Data Enclave account does not on its own enable access to the N3C data, however.
Step 4: Complete required training.
The N3C Data Enclave is hosted by NCATS, and all researchers must complete the “Information Security, Counterintelligence, Privacy Awareness, Records Management Refresher, Emergency Preparedness Refresher” course, which can be accessed at NIH’s information security training website, before submitting a DUR. It will take approximately 60-90 minutes to complete the entire course and users should save evidence of completion for their records (a screenshot or copy of the certificate of completion). Researchers who will request access to de-identified data or to the Limited Data Set (LDS) also must have completed their home institution’s human subjects research training requirements. Researchers will be required to provide the date they completed training in their DUR.
Step 5: Submit the Data Use Request.
After satisfying the training requirements, researchers must fill out and submit a DUR through the N3C Data Enclave. (See a sample DUR form.) Researchers will need to provide a project title, a public research statement, a description of their research project plan, the level of data they intend to access and other information. Researchers also must read and attest to the DUA and to the N3C Data User Code of Conduct. If requesting access to the LDS, researchers will need to provide a copy of their institution’s Human Research Protection Program IRB determination letter. For more details about the DUR, see the N3C Data Access Forms and Resources page.
After a researcher submits a DUR, it will be reviewed by the N3C Data Access Committee (DAC). The DAC is composed of federal staff from NIH and is responsible for reviewing and approving all DURs. Researchers will receive a DAC determination by email and, if approved, instructions for accessing the data. DURs will be effective for one year from the date access is granted and will be renewable.