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Embedding Files to Improve Reproducibility

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Do you have any suggestions for implementing embedding for circumstances where the data are too sensitive to be shared outside a specific group of people (e.g. health data)? Could this be set up in such a way that only people with permissions to access that directory can download the data, or are there other possible implementations?

Jenine Harris

Jenine Harris

October 20, 2023

Pending approval

What a great question! I have never tried to do this and the help documentation for the embed_files() function does not describe this sort of functionality. I would guess that, if the data file itself contains password protection (like an Excel file with a password), this protection will exist when the file is downloaded. I have posted a question to the package developer page here if you want to follow it: https://yihui.org/en/2018/07/embed-file/

Other options could be pointing people to a private GitHub repository where your code and data are stored with password protection and creating a synthetic version of your data that can be publicly shared.

Thanks for the question!

Jenine Harris

Jenine Harris

October 20, 2023

Pending approval

The package author wrote back: "Password protection is likely to be meaningless to people who understand HTML and base64 encoding, because the file is embedded in HTML as a base64 string. As long as you give them the HTML page, they will have access to this string, and they can easily decode it by themselves without clicking on the link. If you want to password protect a file, I'd recommend encrypting it before embedding it. Then people can download and decrypt it using the password you told them.

That said, it's certainly possible to prompt a password input---it just won't really protect your file, and people can easily work around it."

...so it sounds like password protecting your individual data file is the best way to go. If you want to ask him how to add a password to the link, you can continue the conversation here: https://yihui.org/en/2018/07/embed-file/