Project Spotlight: Participant data project

Participant dataThe Participant Data Project is exploring how researchers working with personal information can benefit from better data management.

Researchers across the University (particularly in the medical and social sciences) need to collect, store, and manage information about participants, schedule visits and appointments, and manage ongoing communications. In some cases, this also requires sharing data with researchers in other universities, and with public bodies such as the NHS.

Current IT solutions used to manage participant data are often ad hoc, and aren’t always fit for purpose – they don’t provide versioning and audit trails, and pose risks to data integrity. Likewise, communication with participants and scheduling of appointments is often a manual process, with research staff spending time dealing with routine administrative tasks that could be automated.

In response to these challenges, the Participant Data Project (based in the IT Services Research Support team) started in September 2015. The aim is to provide infrastructure to support world-class research, enabling a faster turnaround of trial cycles and studies, better use of time spent by researchers, and improved collaboration with other universities and external agencies, resulting in an increase in research output.

As always, the project will be driven by the needs of researchers. If you would like to speak to a member of the team about the issues that face you when working with participant data, please get in touch by emailing researchsupport@it.ox.ac.uk.

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