Configure access systems


One of the main tasks of organization administrators is to manage who has access to datasets. Redivis has tools to support any level of complexity in data systems for your restricted data and makes it easy for organization administrators to define, manage, and audit access rules across these various use cases.

1. Consider your organization's access needs

Do you mostly have public datasets? Will you have a small group of researchers with access to pretty much every dataset? Will you need to gather information from researchers before they use your datasets? Do you have high risk data that can't ever leave the system? Or some combination of the above?

Redivis supports access systems for all of these configurations – for organizations of varying sizes – but you'll want to use different tools to achieve these very different goals.

For example, if you have few datasets, you might find that permission groups for bulk managing access rules aren't particularly helpful. Or if you have a small group of researchers who you all know closely, you might not need to set up process-driven access rules through requirements, and can instead grant access to certain researchers on an individual basis.

We'll walk through all the tools available to organizations for managing access, but you'll likely want to pick and choose from what's available to meet your organization's specific needs.

2. Understand access levels

All interactions with data on Redivis require the user to have the appropriate access level to the data for a given action. Ideally your data would be as permissive as possible to allow for the greatest exploration from researchers before they need to start applying for access.

Dataset access has five levels:

  1. Overview: the ability to see a dataset and its documentation.

  2. Metadata: the ability to view variable names and univariate summary statistics, but not to retrieve any identifiable information or multivariate relationships from the data.

  3. Sample: the ability to view and query a dataset's 1% sample. This will only exist for datasets that have a sample configured.

  4. Data: the ability to view and query a dataset's tables, and work with them in projects.

  5. Edit: the ability to edit the dataset and release new versions.

Access levels are cumulative. For example, in order to gain data access you will need to have gained metadata access as well.

We strongly recommend making your dataset's metadata as open as possible. This will reveal variable names and aggregate summary statistics, but will not allow researchers to view, query, or export the raw data in any way.

Being able to see metadata greatly improves researchers' discovery experience, and allows them to better assess a dataset's utility upfront, and even reduce your administrative workload. If researchers can understand a dataset before applying for access, they'll be submitting fewer access applications to datasets that are ultimately a dead end.

Learn more in the Access levels reference section.

3. Understand available access tools


Anyone wanting to apply for access to restricted datasets in your organization must first be a member. You can configure whether memberships are restricted to certain identity providers (such as your institutional login), and whether they are approved automatically or require administrator review. You also have the option to configure access to datasets to "All members."

Direct access

Permission granted directly to a researcher to instantly gain access to a dataset at a specific level. Researchers can also request access to datasets with this configuration.

Example usage: a dataset that will only be shared with a small number of people who are already known to administrators

Member requirements

A form for members to fill out. This can be set to require approval from an administrator or be automatically approved. It can also have an expiration date. These are global to your organization and when assigned to multiple datasets a user will only fill it out one time.

Example usage: a demographic form gathering researcher personal information, or a data use agreement signed PDF

Study requirements

Similar to requirements, but instead of each user needing to fill them out individually, only one requirement needs to be completed for the entire study, which can include multiple researchers. A single researcher may also have multiple studies. Each study working with the dataset will need to fill out its own study requirement, and any queries or exports of the data will be tied to that study.

Example usage: a funding proposal for a research project

Data export restrictions

A rule defining that a dataset can only be exported to a specific export environment, as configured on the Administrator panel Settings tab.

Example usage: limiting exports to a specific server environment

Learn more in the Configuring access reference section.

4. Create requirements

If you want to work with requirements, you'll want to get started making them and planning out how they will work across datasets.

Perhaps you want one requirement for all members to fill out about their field of research, which is necessary to gain access to any of your datasets, but another 4 requirements with different data use agreements that will apply only to their specific datasets.

To get started, go to the Requirements tab of the administrator panel and click the New requirement button. You will need to start by selecting if this will be a Member requirement or a Study requirement.

You can use the form builder to collect different information, including standard form responses, file uploads, and e-signatures.

Learn more in the Requirements reference section.

5. Create permission groups

A permission group is an access configuration that can be assigned to multiple datasets and managed centrally.

You don't need to use permission groups, and it might not make sense to do so if each of your datasets has a different access configuration and you aren't using requirements. But if you have any overlap between datasets and want to enforce consistency, or want to use requirements you'll want to make one.

To get started, go to the Permission groups tab of the administrator panel and click the New permission group button.

This interface requires you to set an access paradigm for each access level of the dataset.

Perhaps you will set the overview access level to be public, the metadata access level to be available to all members, and data access level to be direct access (meaning you will have to directly grant access to users, or respond to their requests for access).

Or perhaps you will set the overview access level to public, and assign multiple requirements to the metadata and data access levels (meaning that anyone who is approved for all of the requirements will automatically gain that access level).

For any case you can assign data export restrictions here and choose whether you want to manage access to the dataset's sample (if it exists) differently than the full data.

If overview access to a dataset isn't public, non-approved users will not be able to see the dataset or its name in any way. In some cases, this may be the intended behavior, but remember there will be no way for researchers to apply for these datasets.

Instead, for these hidden datasets, an administrator will need to first explicitly grant overview access before researchers can view the dataset and request further access.

Learn more in the Permission groups reference section.

6. Assign access permissions to datasets

Finally you'll need to apply these access permissions to actual data!

Open any of your datasets and click the Configure access button on the top of the page. This configuration setup will look very similar to configuring the permission group.

You can either create a custom configuration here, or you can assign this dataset to one of the Permission groups by clicking the dropdown menu in the top right corner of this modal.

This is also where you will manage any direct access requests for the dataset.

7. Verify your setup

As an administrator of this organization, you will have access to all datasets no matter what your access configuration is or what requirements you have filled out.

We recommend checking that your access system works as you expect by either looking at a dataset while you are logged out or in your browser's incognito mode, or by making a second Redivis account using a different email address that is not linked to your administrator account.

Next steps

Grant access to data

You have some shiny access systems, but they won't work if you don't approve user requests for access.

Learn more in the Grant access to data guide.

Expand your reach

If you are part of a larger institution, you can contact us about getting an institution-wide Redivis page to help users discover new organizations and datasets.

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