August 15, 2019

REDCap data management tool reaches million user mark

Fifteen years after it was launched, REDCap, Vanderbilt University’s research data management tool, has reached 1 million users throughout the world.

Fifteen years after it was launched, REDCap, Vanderbilt University’s research data management tool, has reached 1 million users throughout the world.

REDCap, or Research Electronic Data Capture, is a web-based platform originally devised by Paul Harris, PhD, professor of Biomedical Informatics, Biomedical Engineering and Biostatistics. To date, 3,630 institutions in 131 countries have adopted REDCap, which has been cited in more than 7,700 scientific papers.

“We are very proud of both the REDCap platform and our international consortium of administrators and end users,” said Harris, who directs the Vanderbilt Office of Research Informatics. “REDCap has allowed our team to empower researchers across the globe. These researchers provide feedback that helps our development team continuously evolve the platform in innovative ways.”

REDCap was launched in 2004 by the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (VICTR) as a mechanism to allow researchers an “easy way to do the right thing” when planning and implementing data management strategies for their studies and programs.

Supported by Vanderbilt University’s Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health, REDCap grew rapidly to approximately 50 sites by the end of 2009.

A paper published by the Journal of Biomedical Informatics (JBI) in April 2009 that introduced REDCap to the wider scientific world has become the most highly cited paper in the 52-year history of the journal, which previously was known as Computers and Biomedical Research.

A key to REDCap’s success is the REDCap Consortium, a community of academic, non-profit and government institutions in 131 countries that have adopted REDCap and a cadre of software administrators at those sites who manage local installations of the platform and support local investigators using the software.

As an example, during the Ebola outbreak in 2014, there was a rapid mobilization of REDCap partner sites that shared methods for surveillance data collection in both academia and state governments, Harris and colleagues reported last month in JBI.

More than 15,000 REDCap projects support basic, clinical and translational research as well as epidemiological studies. More than a quarter of the scientific papers that have cited REDCap have been in the areas of pediatrics, surgery and public, environmental and occupational health.

Annual or bi-annual REDCap conferences, REDCapCons, are now being held in Australia, Brazil, Japan and South Africa. In September Vanderbilt will host the 11th North American REDCapCon in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Others at Vanderbilt who played key roles in the development and dissemination of REDCap include Francesco Delacqua, Giovanni Delacqua, Stephany Duda, PhD, Veida Elliott, Michelle Fernandez, Adam Lewis, Laura McLeod, Brenda Minor, Lindsay O’Neal, Natalie Stanley and Rob Taylor.