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The data of waves 1-9 and CILS4COVID (waves 4-9 and CILS4COVID only for Germany) are available for senior researchers with an institutional affiliation and graduate students writing their thesis from GESIS Data Archive for the Social Sciences. A campus use file that contains some of the data from waves 1-3 is available to all students. The CILS4NEPS dataset, which contains harmonised data from waves 1-3 of CILS4EU and waves 1-6 of the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS) Starting Cohort 4 is available for reasearchers with a proven interest in analyses based on the harmonized dataset.

Prospective users will be asked to fill out a data use agreement before gaining access to the data.

Please note, in the section documentation we provide full information on technical reports, questionnaires and codebook on this webpage.


-> apply for CILS4EU data here (Waves 1-3) and here (Waves 4-9, Germany only)


Full vs. reduced version

Due to data security reasons, two different versions are available for each data set:

(1) Full version:

  • version with complete information collected during the survey
  • available only for on-site use within the facilities of the Secure Data Center (SDC) of the GESIS Data Archive for the Social Sciences

(2) Reduced version:

  • version in which some information has been reduced and aggregated in order to prevent the identification of single respondents
  • available for download and off-site use

The structure of the full and reduced version is identical. That means that in both versions the same variables are included, but they contain different information. Variables with reduced or aggregated information are marked with an “RV” at the end of the variable name.

Our codebooks (specifically Appendix F) gives you an excellent overview about all variables that were not included or slightly edited in the reduced version. Please check them to decide whether the reduced version data are suited for your analyses or whether you need the full version.

Please be aware that the full version is only available for on-site use within the facilities of the Secure Data Center (SDC) of the GESIS Data Archive for the Social Sciences. Only the reduced version is approachable for off-site use: it is downloadable in form of scientific use files (SUF) after signing a contract. Before filling out the data user agreement, users have to indicate which version they want to apply for.



Users must apply separately for access to the first three waves of all four countries (CILS4EU, W1-3) and the German follow-up study (CILS4EU-DE, W4-9 and CILS4COVID).


Campus use file vs. scientific use file

The campus use file (CUF) of the CILS4EU data is available to graduate and undergraduate students, while the scientific use file (SUF) is only available to senior researchers and graduate students in their final year. The CUF contains data from waves 1-3 for a subsample of the German CILS4EU respondents on selected variables. Therefore, it is not possible to compare countries in the CUF data. Please refer to the documentation materials of CUF and SUF for more information on their respective contents.



To gain access to the CIL4NEPS harmonized dataset, you must apply for access to the reduced version of the CILS4EU data waves 1-3 (via GESIS). You also have to fill out the NEPS Data Use Agreement and the RemoteNEPS Supplemental Agreement, which you can find here. Once both applications have been approved, the CILS4EU data and the NEPS data can be downloaded and used as Scientific Use Files from the respective portals. The harmonized CILS4NEPS data themselves are only accessible via remote data processing using the RemoteNEPS service.