Blogs: Get to Know the Gateway: Data Download Guides

Get to Know the Gateway: Data Download Guides

by Sarah Petrosyan
Jan 7, 2021
#Data-Downloads #HRS #MHAS

One of the goals of the Gateway to Global Aging Data is to make it easy for our users to access the original study data and the harmonized data for the international family of Health and Retirement Studies. Most studies in the international family of Health and Retirement Studies require users to register before allowing them to download their data. The details of the registration, approval process, and length of time until granted access vary by study. To help explain these differences and guide users through the registration process and data download steps, we have created “Data Download Guides” for each study.

To increase the ease of access in obtaining data, the Gateway has also developed a single portal where users can register with multiple studies as part of the same application. In this blog we focus on the basics of our Universal Access to Study Data tool and provide a brief overview of the data access process for each study.

To use the Universal Access to Study Data tool you must first be registered with the Gateway to Global Aging Data. Once registered and logged in, you can begin to complete the application. You may request access for a single study or multiple studies at a time by selecting the studies of interest.

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After selecting the studies of interest, you can begin to fill out the application form. The information on this form will differ depending on the studies selected. At the end of the form, you will be asked to sign and date. Once the form is complete, select “Submit and Register”.

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Upon successful submission of the application, you will receive an email with instructions on any additional steps needed to complete the registration process for any particular study.

While the Universal Access to Study Data tool aims to allow users to register for all studies at the same time, there are times when users will have to register with certain studies through that study’s website.

Studies for which registration is not possible through the Universal Access to Study Data tool are noted before users select which studies to register with. For these times, the “Data Download Guides” also contain instructions for registering with each study through their own website.

After completing the Universal Access to Study Data or registering on a study’s website, the process from registration to access will also vary by study. Some studies will immediately send users an email with a link to download their data, some studies will review the application process before approval, and others will request more information. Below we have provided the estimated time it takes to gain access to the data after submitting a user’s initial registration for each study. Please refer to the specific user guide for detailed instructions.

Study Estimated time to access data
HRS 1 day
MHAS Instant
ELSA 1 day
SHARE One week
CRELES Instant
KLoSA 1 day
JSTAR Up to 3 months
TILDA One week
CHARLS Up to one week
LASI (Pilot 2010) Instant

Here are some helpful hints on the registration, approval, and data access for each study as well as links to each Data Access Guide and the data access website.

Health and Retirement Study (HRS)

  • HRS Data Access Guide
  • HRS data access website: https://hrsdata.isr.umich.edu/user
  • If you are a first-time user or created your HRS account before 9/1/2020, you will need to create a new account to log-in.
  • Access approval takes about 1 day.
  • Once access is granted you will have access to the “HRS Survey Data”, the “RAND HRS Data”, and the “Gateway Harmonized Data”.
  • The “HRS Survey Data” page provides all publicly released original study data.
  • The “RAND HRS Data” page provides the RAND HRS Longitudinal File (the primary user-friendly HRS dataset), the RAND HRS Family Data (containing many helpful and comparable family variables), and other user-friendly RAND files.
  • The “Gateway Harmonized Data” page provides the Harmonized HRS, a supplemental dataset to the RAND HRS containing variables the RAND HRS doesn’t already include, and the Harmonized HRS End of Life, a user-friendly version of a subset of the HRS exit interview files.

Mexican Health and Aging Study (MHAS)

  • MHAS Data Access Guide
  • MHAS data access website: http://www.mhasweb.org
  • Shortly after registering, you will receive an email containing a link to access the data.
  • MHAS original study data are provided on the Raw Data tab
  • Harmonized MHAS data are provided on the Constructed/Harmonized Data tab

The English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA)

  • ELSA Data Access Guide
  • ELSA data access website: https://beta.ukdataservice.ac.uk/myaccount/login
  • The ELSA stores all of their data with the UK Data Service, and you must visit the address above in order to register for the data.
  • Access approval takes about 1 day to obtain.
  • The UK Data Service website provides the original study data and a version of the Harmonized ELSA (though it is currently behind several versions) all as a single download.
  • To create the most up-to-date version of the Harmonized ELSA dataset, users must download and run the Harmonized ELSA Stata Creation Code after downloading the ELSA original study data. Instructions can be found here.

The Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE)

Costa Rican Longevity and Health Aging Study (CRELES)

Korean Longitudinal Study of Aging (KLoSA)

Japanese Study of Aging and Retirement (JSTAR)

  • JSTAR Data Access Guide
  • JSTAR data access website: https://www.rieti.go.jp/en/projects/jstar/
  • Once registered you will receive an email with two documents attached.
  • Once the JSTAR team reviews documents, they will send another email containing two additional forms: (1) Terms and Conditions and (2) Agreement Form for Use of Confidential Datasets
  • After JSTAR reviews the documents, access to the data will be granted.
  • JSTAR original study data will either be physically mailed to the user on a CD or sent to the user through a secure file transfer service.
  • This process can take up to 3 months to complete.
  • To obtain the Harmonized JSTAR dataset, users must download and run the Harmonized JSTAR Stata Creation Code after receiving the JSTAR original study data. Instructions can be found here.

The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA)

  • TILDA Data Access Guide
  • TILDA data access website: https://tilda.tcd.ie/
  • Once registered you will receive an email with documents attached. In these documents, you will indicate the datasets you wish to gain access to including the TILDA original study data and the Harmonized TILDA data.
  • Sign and email PDF(s) to issda@ucd.ie.
  • Upon access approval, you will receive two emails:
    1. link to download the data
    2. password to open data files once downloaded
  • The process takes about one week to complete.
  • To request additional datasets, a new form must be submitted to issda@ucd.ie indicating the specific data file of interest.

China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS)

  • CHARLS Data Access Guide
  • CHARLS data access website: http://charls.pku.edu.cn/users/sign_in/en.html
  • Once registered, users have to request access separately for the CHARLS original study data and the Harmonized CHARLS data. It can take up to one week to be approved for data access.
  • After access is granted, the original study data and Harmonized data can be downloaded from the Data page of the CHARLS website.

Longitudinal Aging Study in India (LASI - 2010 Pilot Wave)

  • LASI Pilot Data Access Guide
  • LASI Pilot data access website: https://g2aging.org/?section=page&pageid=26
  • LASI data is available for the 2010 Pilot Wave.
  • Upon downloading, you will be asked to read and agree to the conditions of use.
  • The LASI Pilot original study data and Harmonized LASI Pilot data are available for download immediately following agreement of the conditions of use.
about the author
Sarah Petrosyan is a Project Specialist for The Program for Global Health, Aging & Policy at CESR.