What is Open Source RexDB®?

The Research Exchange Database (RexDB®) is an extensible, web-native software platform that helps researchers securely collect, manage and share data. Unlike most data centralization tools, RexDB embraces the flexibility required to support the needs of dynamic scientific collaborations. Below are several unique attributes of RexDB:

  • RexDB is web-enabled
  • RexDB is model-driven (i.e., by a relational database, not just application logic)
  • RexDB supports metadata search (i.e., Google for databases)
  • RexDB has powerful cohort management capabilities
  • RexDB includes a full-featured (and documented) open source query API
  • RexDB is OSI compliant under an aGPLv3 license

RexDB systems can be regularly updated to meet the changing needs of ongoing research projects, allowing many modifications to be performed by nontechnical software users. RexDB is built on top of sustainable open-source components, ensuring that your research data will never be marooned in a proprietary format or a legacy system. A unique layered architecture allows novice and advanced users, data managers, statisticians, and local IT staff to effectively interact with the system, while a highly granular privileging model ensures easy compliance with local and federal regulations.

RexDB is an open source integrated data management platform
RexDB is an open source integrated data management platform

RexDB is a platform that allows analysts to configure relational databases and powerful web applications to manage biomedical research data.

RexDB is available on Bitbucket
RexDB is available on Bitbucket

RexDB source code was recently made publicly available on Bitbucket.  Check it out at http://bitbucket.org/prometheus/rexdb.


Where is RexDB currently in use?

RexDB is presently the data collection, data warehousing, and data sharing software platform of choice for numerous longitudinal multidisciplinary research studies, including the Simons Foundation’s Simons Simplex Collection and Variation in Individuals Project, the Yale Child Study Center’s Yale Autism Research Database, and the centralized data solution at Emory University’s Marcus Autism Research Institute.  RexDB has also been integrated with the laboratory data management system used by Rutgers University Cell and DNA Repository.  Our community is still relatively small:

  • Several dozen installations
  • 4.6K Google search results
  • Hundreds of end users

Who is it intended for?

RexDB was designed to enable analysts, researchers, and clinicians to better organize, clean, and query their data in an integrated and secure manner.  Not only does it allow for multiple methods of data capture to support surveys and forms, it stores data in a model that is optimized for human subject research.  And because it is integrated with RexQL™ (a derivative of HTSQL), the open-source research query language, it allows for ad hoc reporting in ways not possible with traditional tools.  Electronic Medical Record (EMR) integration?  Solved.  RexDB is the answer to managing research data elegantly and in close communication with center-wide EMR installations.

RexDB is a platform that allows analysts to configure relational databases and powerful web applications to manage biomedical research data.

RexDB supports efficient reuse of data from multiple studies and multiple data types. For example, a typical RexDB install may integrate behavioral, medical, genomic, imaging, and biospecimen-inventory data from multiple studies on the same population into a unified searchable system. This integration allows translational researchers to ask questions like: “Across all studies in our center, show me the BAPQ, SRS, ADOS and ADI-R scores for everyone who has a verbal IQ above 75, no known genetic lesions at 16p11.2, and whose mother had a history of autoimmune disorders. OK, now limit the data set to those participants for whom we already have a live-cell-line biospecimen or those I have consent to re-contact.” Answers are available in minutes instead of weeks.

Who created RexDB?

Prometheus Research!  Prometheus is a premier provider of integrated data management services.  We’re also the creators of RexDB and other useful technologies.

For more about us, and the nearly two dozen clients we support, visit www.PrometheusResearch.com.