Procurement of shared data instruments for Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap)

J Biomed Inform. 2013 Apr;46(2):259-65. doi: 10.1016/j.jbi.2012.10.006. Epub 2012 Nov 10.


REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture) is a web-based software solution and tool set that allows biomedical researchers to create secure online forms for data capture, management and analysis with minimal effort and training. The Shared Data Instrument Library (SDIL) is a relatively new component of REDCap that allows sharing of commonly used data collection instruments for immediate study use by research teams. Objectives of the SDIL project include: (1) facilitating reuse of data dictionaries and reducing duplication of effort; (2) promoting the use of validated data collection instruments, data standards and best practices; and (3) promoting research collaboration and data sharing. Instruments submitted to the library are reviewed by a library oversight committee, with rotating membership from multiple institutions, which ensures quality, relevance and legality of shared instruments. The design allows researchers to download the instruments in a consumable electronic format in the REDCap environment. At the time of this writing, the SDIL contains over 128 data collection instruments. Over 2500 instances of instruments have been downloaded by researchers at multiple institutions. In this paper we describe the library platform, provide detail about experience gained during the first 25months of sharing public domain instruments and provide evidence of impact for the SDIL across the REDCap consortium research community. We postulate that the shared library of instruments reduces the burden of adhering to sound data collection principles while promoting best practices.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research
  • Computational Biology*
  • Database Management Systems*
  • Information Dissemination / methods*
  • User-Computer Interface