Data Management Guidance, Tools & Resources

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The National Science Foundation (NSF) requires that all grant proposals be accompanied by a data management plan. Other federal funding agencies have similar requirements or will have soon. This guide will serve as a starting point to guide researchers through the data life cycle process with available tools either on campus or through the California Digital Library (CDL).

Data Collection Tools

Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap)

The Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap) system offers a secure, HIPAA compliant web-based electronic data capture system that enables researchers to quickly and easily build surveys, data entry forms, and surveys with private data entry forms. The data entered into REDCap data entry forms and surveys is stored in a centralized system, which enables researchers to share data with their UCSF research teams and external collaborators in real-time. REDCap can be accessed from any computer or mobile device, including PCs, Macs, tablets, and mobile phones.

REDCap databases and surveys can be created on a self-service basis through an intuitive point-and-click REDCap form designer or on a consulting basis. To request the services of a CTSI consultant for the creation of your REDCap database and/or survey, please submit a consulting request through the CTSI. REDCap is available for use free of charge to the UCSF Research Community and its external collaborators.

For additional information and upcoming RedCap training opportunities, please contact the ITS-Academic Research Systems Team. To request the creation of REDCap user accounts for your research team members, please complete our online request form or call the ITS Help Desk at (415) 514-4100 option 2.

See also:

Data Access

UCSF/ZSFG Clinical Data for Research

Request electronic health record data from APeX and data from ZSFG and other DPH facilities. Begin the process with a CTSI Data Management and Extraction Consultation Request.

Data Processing Tools


The MyResearch environment provide UCSF research teams with a secure, web based, collaborative environment in which to store, share, and analyze files containing sensitive data, including research health information (RHI) and protected health information (PHI). The MyResearch environment provides application and database services that allow investigators to view, manipulate, and save their data entirely in this protected environment without requiring files to be stored on their own computers. The applications available for use in the MyResearch environment include SAS, Stata, SPSS, Atlas.ti, Enterprise Architect, TreeAge, MS Office 2010 suite (including MS Project and MS OneNote), and the Cohort Selection Tool.

The Cohort Selection Tool enables researchers to run queries to generate patient population counts against the UCSF Medical Center UCare hospital database. The data set currently available for querying includes the UCSF Medical Center UCare data from 2005 to August 2010. This data set will be expanded to include UCare data from August 2010 to Present and EPIC/APeX hospital data in the near future.

MyResearch is available for use free of charge to the UCSF Research Community and its external collaborators. For additional information about the MyResearch environment, please contact the ITS-Academic Research Systems team. To request the creation of a MyResearch site and associated user accounts for your research team, go here or call the ITS Help Desk at (415) 514-4100 option 2.

Data Management Resources

  • CELDAC (Comparative Effectiveness Large Dataset Analysis Core): provides information and guidance for working with large datasets.
  • CTSI Consultation Services provides expert advice in a wide range of subject areas, including data management issues such as how to design databases and workflow to support studies, electronic health record extracts from the APeX system, assistance with querying existing databases, consultations for Comparative Effectiveness Large Data Set Analysis and other data management needs  (initial hour of consultation is free of charge).
  • Data Management for Clinical Research Online Course.  Coursera offers FREE online courses in a variety of subjects and specialties from 62 leading Universities and Colleges worldwide. UCSF is one of the teaching institutions, and new Universities are signing up every month. You do not receive a grade for the class, but if you participate and successfully complete all assignments and tests then you receive a certificate upon completion. All you have to do is go to the site, create a login, browse offered courses and sign up. When the course is about to begin you will receive an email with all the details. This course is called Data Management for Clinical Research, and it is being offered by Vanderbilt University (the creators of REDCap). Here is the link to the class details:
  • EpiBiostat has a data management group specializing in services for multi-center clinical trials. 
  • UCSF DataShare is a data repository service for the University of California that accepts a wide variety of data formats and meets funder and publisher requirements for data sharing.
  • The Research Data and Technology Group at the SF Coordinating Center is a small, agile team of programmers and network administration personnel who excel in developing and implementing innovative database and technology solutions with a low-cost, fast turnaround.
  • The University of California Curation Center (UC3) is a creative partnership bringing together the expertise and resources of the California Digital Library (CDL), the ten UC campuses, and the broader international curation community to foster collaborative analysis, projects, and solutions to ensure the long-term viability and usability of curated digital content. Please contact UC3 for more information.