Choosing your access mode may seem as simple as choosing the most convenient option, however there are several factors you should consider before choosing your mode of access .
First, some datasets from NCHS or hosted by the RDC are not available on every access mode. For instance, the genetic component of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES ) is not available in Census RDCs. Similarly, Linked CMS data products are not available on the remote access system. Until recently, we only provided researchers with this information after a proposal has been submitted. We now realize that your choice of data or even use of the RDC relies heavily on your chosen access mode. In an effort to help you better we developed a Data Availability chart (see Access Modes), which highlights the NCHS surveys available on each access mode.
Next you have to consider your analytic software; SAS is the only analytic software available for all four access modes. While both the NCHS and Census RDCS offer the most commonly used analytic software, such as STATA and R, these options are not available on the remote access system.
After you’ve made a choice on all these factors you will have to consider your timeframe. Remote access is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In most cases, both NCHS and Census RDCs will require some travel. Staff assisted is always limited to the availability of the staff and conducting analysis does not take priority over reviewing proposals.
Finally, you should consider cost. Depending on the amount of time and funds available to you, one access mode may be more cost effective over another.
Despite the above considerations, it is important that you still maintain a bit of flexibility in your access mode. There are times where your request will require the use of a specific access mode. Like in most things in life, you have to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each access mode in order to make an informed decision.