The Monitoring the Future Remote Access Service (MTFRAS) is designed to provide indirect access to Monitoring the Future microdata for those secondary analysts whose needs cannot be met by accessing publicly available Monitoring the Future datasets. Before using the Monitoring the Future Remote Access Service, analysts should be certain that their particular needs cannot be met by the standard means of accessing MTF datasets.

The principal differences between the directly-accessible, publicly-available MTF datasets and the MTF Remote Access Service datasets are that the latter include an unaltered weight variable, two additional sample design variables, and a small number of other variables not released for reasons of confidentiality protection. The great majority of analyses do not require these additional variables.

With the Remote Access Service, the indirect access method protects confidentiality. This access method involves (1) a user's submission of a SAS analysis setup via e-mail to the MTFRAS, (2) the execution of this job by project staff on an MTF UNIX computer, and (3) the e-mail transmission of analysis results to the user.

Confidentiality is further protected by the establishment of "disclosure avoidance criteria." The criteria currently in effect preclude the release of direct listings of microdata or the release of any analysis with a cell size of fewer than ten cases.