Caring for Your Data: Data Management Resources at Duke


Data management is a topic of high interest for the Duke research community. About 240 people engaged in research, most of them staff and faculty, attended the most recent town hall dedicated to data management. During the first half, Duke services and data-related tools or resources were highlighted from 12 offices in a series of five minute fast-paced presentations. See the full slides here. In the second half, the attendees emptied the crowded Great Hall to learn about the data management resources at the fair and interact with the presenters. Long lines of people waited to ask questions during the entire duration of the fair. “I need an ability to do offline data capture in other countries, but neither REDCap nor Qualtrics is working for us.  What do you suggest?”, one attendee asked the representatives of Duke Health Information Security. And another wanted to know how he could send research data to a colleague who transferred to another institution, but who is still collaborating with Duke researchers on a grant. “It was a pleasure taking part in the fair. We were quite occupied and busy with people”, concluded Mark Delong, Director of Duke Research Computing at the Office of Information Technology”

Among those interested in the Protected Analytics Computing Environment (PACE) - a resource tool which provides secure, individual as well as shared project folders and increased computer power - some wanted to know whether PACE could be a good option for storage of bench lab data that does not use Health data, or is it more for clinical research – recalls Shannon Widman, MPH, program manager at Duke Office of Clinical Research.

Social scientists or humanists like myself could feel a bit lost hearing about the abundance of data management resources at Duke which, at a first glance, speak primarily to clinical researchers and hard sciences in general. However, those who are curious to explore, will realize that some of these data-related tools and resources have features that are applicable to many research areas and can be used to safely store information even outside of research data.  This is the case with many of the resources highlighted (e.g. REDCap database and electronic research notebook, LabArchives). While REDCap can be used for storing clinical research data, it can also be used for surveys, process management or even administrative data. For example, we, at ASIST, use REDCap for various office administrative projects to facilitate analyzing collected information.

We would like to thank all of those who attended the event and sent us feedback and questions that they would like to be answered. We are glad to see that the event provided an opportunity to begin and continue important discussions on data management and facilitated matching researchers with resources.

Acknowledgements: The Duke Office of Scientific Integrity, ASIST team would like to thank all of those who participated in the Research Town Hall “Caring for Your Data: Data Management Resources at Duke.” Also, many thanks to Dr. Michael Pencina, Vice Dean of Data Science and Information Technology, for the introductory remarks and to Rebecca Brouwer, Director of Research Initiatives, for graciously leading the event as the emcee.