Prosper Data Sharing for PSU Investigators

Data Available and Procedures

PROSPER is a longitudinal study of youth, families, and communities in 28 Iowa and Pennsylvania school districts. The study is a collaboration of Iowa State (Richard Spoth, PI; Cleve Redmond, co-I) and Penn State (Mark Greenberg, original PI; Mark Feinberg current PI; Janet Welsh, co-I). The main PROSPER trial was funded by three RO1 grants from NIDA to assess dissemination of substance abuse prevention via community teams catalyzed by Cooperative Extension educators.

Students were followed annually from 6th to 12th grades with a questionnaire administered during a class period. With passive family consent, a high rate of participation was achieved among the students in two successive cohorts, yielding a total sample size at each wave over 10,000. Students were included who were in participating schools; students who transferred out were not followed and new incoming students were included. A subset contributed DNA, which has been assayed for a number of candidate genes related to risky behaviors and mental health. An overlapping subset of the sample (~900) received family home visits (questionnaires and video observation) in the Fall of 6th grade and annually in the Spring from 6th through 9th grade. Finally, another overlapping subset (~1900)—oversampled for being high risk in 6th grade—were followed with online surveys after high school at ages 19, 22, and 24.

Data collection across the “in-school”, “in-home”, and “young adult” focused first on substance use—initiation, level of use, associated risky behaviors, and dependence (in young adulthood). Data was also collected regarding a range of individual, family, peer, and school protective and risk factors, as well as related risk behaviors (antisocial/delinquent behaviors). Participants identified up to 7 close friends at each wave, and these responses have been matched to rosters, resulting in fairly complete peer networks in each grade, at each wave, among participating schools.

In-home surveys of youth expanded on the in-school assessment of risk and protective factors. Parents were also surveyed in the in-home visits, and family interaction was videotaped and has been reliably coded.

In young adulthood, surveys included questions about education, work, living situation, romantic relationships, family formation, and related topics.

In addition, data for each school district was collected at the community level, including via interviews with the local PROSPER prevention team, school personnel, and related agencies/sector representatives to assess the team/coalition processes. Archival (census, educational, crime) data related to the participating school districts has also been collected and organized into datasets.

Additional grants to collaborating investigators have allowed for the collection of additional data streams and supported new lines of research not originally planned (peer network dynamics, gene x environment interaction, second generation impacts). New lines of data collection are being undertaken and other lines are being planned. Researchers with ideas for additional data collection projects based on the sample are welcome to discuss these ideas with Penn State PROSPER investigators.

Data Sharing Procedures
The PROSPER data is available for use by Penn State researchers through coordination with the PROSPER Executive Committee (EC). The EC requires researchers to outline their intended use of the data and submit a proposal for consideration and approval by the EC (see attached PROSPER proposal form). In general, EC members have the right to ask a proposing researcher to participate in proposed research, with details to be worked out amongst the parties.

Criteria for approval: Proposals are reviewed once each month by the full PROSPER EC to ensure that the project does not overlap with other projects currently underway. Also the EC seeks to ensure consistency in reporting of samples, descriptions of variables/constructs, and analytic approach (when appropriate, e.g., intervention studies) across studies.

See enclosed materials for the EC documentation of the approval process and proposal forms.

Codebooks for the PROSPER data are available upon request.

It is strongly suggested that researchers interested in utilizing PROSPER data first contact one of the current PROSPER investigators before applying to use the data to discuss the idea informally. PROSPER Investigators at Penn State include Mark Feinberg ( and Janet Welsh (

Human Subjects and Privacy Issues
Before being given access to data, PSU investigators will be required to receive IRB approval—either by being added to an existing PROSPER IRB account or initiating their own.

Methods for Data Sharing
Data is typically shared by giving approved investigators access to secure data folders on Box.

Data Documentation
Codebooks are available covering the various streams of PROSPER data.

Publication and Authorship Guidelines
for PROSPER Core and Affiliated Projects (EC Updated August, 2017)

Background and Purpose
As of this date, a large number of PROSPER grants have been funded, including the original PROSPER grant, two competing continuations (collectively referenced as the “core projects”), PROSPER-SBIRT, and a number of affiliated grant-funded projects (PROSPER Peer, PROSPER GxE, PROSPER Parent Lability), collectively referenced as “affiliated projects.” These guidelines apply to all papers and presentations from both core and affiliated projects. Guidelines specific to affiliated projects are written in blue font.

The general purpose of these guidelines is to promote effective, well-coordinated dissemination of results from PROSPER projects while providing ample publication opportunities for the large number of investigators, scientists, postdoctoral associates, and students working with PROSPER data sets. There are two primary goals. The first goal is to facilitate coordination of publication efforts among all authors of PROSPER presentations and papers, especially to avoid any duplication of efforts and to promote consistency in the description of common project elements. The second is to structure publishing practices to facilitate opportunities for all involved. Our plan also is intended to support proactive communication among all involved through careful, systematic monitoring of proposed papers, in a manner consistent with relevant professional standards. Our hope is to foster optimal collaboration among project investigators, scientists, postdoctoral associates, and students.

The creation of the core project data sets was based upon the conceptualization and input of the primary investigators. Although others may use this data for a variety of purposes, their capacity to do so relies upon the initial conceptualization, study design, measures, and project data sets contributed by the primary investigators. In the case of affiliated projects (PROSPER GxE, PROSPER Peers, PROSPER Parent Lability), guidelines and review procedures, beyond those that address the need to track all papers for reporting and coordinating purposes, focus primarily on papers involving intervention-related outcomes.

Coordination and Decision-Making

  1. Executive Committee Composition, Responsibilities and Procedures
    1. Composition. An Executive Committee (EC) composed of the primary investigators of the core PROSPER project will be the decision-making group for all matters regarding core project publications and presentations, and for coordination among investigators involved in both core and affiliated projects. The Executive Committee is composed of Richard Spoth, Cleve Redmond, Mark Feinberg, and Janet Welsh (with EC member emeritus Mark Greenberg offering input as desired). If changes in composition occur, the EC will attempt to maintain an equal balance of representation between PSU and ISU faculty.
    2. EC Coordination Responsibilities. The EC will take primary responsibility for deciding what papers are required for addressing core PROSPER projects aims, as described in the PROSPER grant proposals. These will include papers addressing both process and outcome aims. As defined here, outcomes include both process outcomes (e.g., recruitment, participation/attendance, implementation fidelity) and intervention outcomes (e.g., youth/young adult report and in-home family or youth data on problem behaviors). The EC will allocate responsibility for these papers, as well as invite appropriate investigators or scientists to be involved as authors. The functions of the EC review are to provide feedback on proposals, to assure that projects are complementary (e.g., that they do not overlap in problematic ways), as well as to allow the EC to monitor the development of the entire “portfolio” of PROSPER publications.
    3. EC Coordination Responsibilities for Approving Proposals and Papers from Affiliated Projects. To assist the EC in its reporting and coordination tasks, PIs for the affiliated projects will submit annual reports, by December 15 each year, summarizing all paper plans and related activities. In addition, it is expected that lead authors of all affiliate project papers submit a short paper proposal form (described below), to assist the EC in tracking all papers and avoiding duplication. The EC will review and approve all proposals submitted in order to assure that there isn’t overlap with already-approved proposals or papers. A closer review will be undertaken for proposals involving intervention outcome-related analyses, including outcome-related mediation and moderation analyses. It is required that a copy of all papers be sent to the EC before initial submission to a journal, as described in more detail below.
    4. EC Procedures.
      1. Initial Review Procedures and Timeframe. The EC will conduct a phone conference review once a month and will communicate as indicated between phone conferences to facilitate a thorough and timely review process. The EC will attempt to provide proposal review decisions within two weeks from the point of receipt by the EC. However, depending on the timing of the proposal submission, up to three weeks might be required. In most cases, decisions will be consensual. Some modifications may be requested in the proposals. The EC disposition will be communicated to the proposal’s lead author by the PI or their designee.
      2. EC Member Involvements in Authorship. Members of the EC may express their desire to participate in a proposed paper. This is based, in part, on their conceptualizations and inputs for study design, proposal development, measurement development, creation of project data sets, and so on. In each case the EC member will convey both their interest and expected contributions to the lead author. Also, they may indicate the interests of their Co-Investigators or associated scientists/researchers. Expansion of the authoring team to Co-Investigators or associated scientists for any proposed paper occurs at the proposer’s discretion, but needs to be discussed and negotiated during the proposal review period.
      3. Journal Submission Approval/Turnaround. For paper proposals from affiliated projects that do not contain intervention outcome analyses (including outcome-related mediation and moderation analyses), a copy of the paper completed for its first journal review should be submitted to Sherry Robison at least three weeks prior to intended submission to the journal. She will notify the EC about the intended submission, for monitoring and coordination purposes. For papers from affiliated projects that contain intervention outcome analyses, including outcome-related mediation and moderation analyses, the EC will conduct a substantive review and the paper should not be submitted until that review has been completed. EC comments or suggestions will be returned to the proposer within about three weeks of submission to the EC. Please check with Sherry Robison if you have not received a response after three weeks. Under special circumstances (e.g., competing grant proposal deadlines), this turnaround time might be negotiated by EC members. It is expected that EC members who are co-authors have already provided input prior to review by the EC.
  2. Proposer Responsibilities
    1. Crediting Grants. Funding agencies consider it important that they are appropriately credited in acknowledgements; grant credits are tracked in the NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) for projects’ progress reports. Lead authors are expected to make certain all appropriate grants funding the research for individual papers are cited (see Appendix C). Examples of credit statements are provided in Appendix C; a list of grants supporting PROSPER data collection and/or data analyses and reporting is provided in Appendix D.
    2. Submitting Proposals. To use data for papers from the PROSPER projects, a proposal must be submitted by completing one of the two attached forms (“Standard” and “Short” forms).
      1. The “Short Form” (see Appendix A) should be used for proposing papers or presentations that: (1) focus on PROSPER peer network-, GxE-, or parent lability-related data analyses, and (2) do not report results of intervention outcome or intervention mediation/moderation analyses consistent with the Aims of the grants for those projects (and other similarly corresponding analyses for future affiliate projects).
      2. The “Standard Form” should be used for all other paper proposals (see Appendix B).
      3. Proposals should be submitted to Sherry Robison at ISU ( She will record all proposals, then send a copy to the PROSPER EC for their review and approval. Samples of the content of earlier proposals from other projects are available.
      4. To avoid a number of related issues occurring in past PROSPER papers (e.g., missing already-existing measures, creation of measures with similar labels but significantly different content, changing labels for measures with nearly identical content), both the short and the standard forms request that the proposer report whether or not scales or other item-aggregated measures to be used will be drawn from the PROSPER technical reports, and provide detail about any newly created measurers that are not represented in the technical reports.
      5. In addition, it is the proposer’s responsibility to ensure that the core project providing the data utilized is described appropriately and accurately. This includes reference to the PROSPER delivery system for evidence-based, universal family-focused and school interventions, as indicated. To assist proposers in addressing these issues, the EC has written an Appendix (see Appendix C) to this authorship guidelines document. It provides detailed guidance concerning common paper or paper proposal content (regarding acknowledgements, PROSPER model descriptions, measures, methods descriptions including Ns, and so on). The Appendix has been written so it could be used as a “checklist” before submitting proposals and, subsequently, papers to the EC.
    3. Tracking and Reporting Requirements. Because of the large number of researchers involved, the volume of presentations/papers, the interrelated research questions addressed, and the NIH reporting and tracking requirements, it is important that proposers assist with tracking procedures. Each quarter, Sherry Robison will send a prompting email to the lead author of unpublished papers. Lead authors should report changes in the status of paper development and status. Lead authors also should report a paper’s acceptance and publish date as soon as it occurs.
      On core projects a proposing team has eighteen months to make significant progress on a proposal, after the data has been cleaned and are ready for analyses (e.g., submission to a journal). After that period of time, the idea and data go back into the pool for others to consider, unless there are extenuating circumstances recognized by the EC. Permission is required from the EC to continue beyond the 18-month period.
      Importantly, proposers are responsible for reporting relevant changes to their proposed work that may be relevant to EC approval of the proposer’s or others’ planned work (e.g., changes in overall focus, changes to measures, changes to data to be utilized).
    4. Journal Pre-Submission Approval. All manuscripts are to be submitted to the EC for comments (core projects) and/or monitoring before journal submission (see EC coordinating procedures above).
    5. Guidelines on Presentations. Presentations submitted to meetings also require prior approval. Although for affiliated projects, only presentations containing intervention outcome analyses (including outcome-related mediation and moderation analyses) require approval, please send a copy of the abstract to Sherry Robison for tracking purposes. Although completion of the attached form is preferable (and would facilitate subsequent review of a paper proposal, should that be contemplated), a draft abstract of the presentation will suffice. The completed form or abstract must be submitted at least three weeks in advance of the submission deadline for the conference or meeting. It will be expedited, when possible. As noted, in order to write a manuscript from the presentation, a full proposal will still be required.

Facilitation of Opportunities
The EC strongly encourages all PROSPER investigators (Co-PIs, Co-Is, scientists, postdoctoral associates, students, and others) to develop and write papers. The review process is designed to coordinate activities so that no person finds her or himself in the position of working on a paper in which publication is threatened by duplicated effort. The hope is to encourage a wide range of papers that contribute to a rich and diverse portfolio of research associated with the PROSPER projects.