The Open Source RexDB Project – What is it?
We at Prometheus Research have spent the last decade directly supporting or collaborating on some of the largest and most ambitious autism research endeavors in the world, including the Simons Foundation’s Simons Simplex Collection and the National Database for Autism Research. The tools and processes we’ve helped develop in the areas of study governance, data collection, data curation, data distribution, and data persistence are now considered best practices for collaborative research, and already in use at dozens of institutions including the Yale Child Study Center and the Marcus Autism Center.
Our goal is to take the best practices and tools that we developed for the largest and most ambitious research projects and share them with researchers of all interests. To that end, we’ll be open sourcing (i.e., making freely available) our proprietary Research Exchange Database, RexDB®.
Why are we, a for-profit company, comfortable freely sharing our intellectual property with the world?
Because we know that tools alone don’t solve researchers’ data management problems. We believe that by open-sourcing our technology we can still be successful because we offer professional Integrated Data Management Services (iDMS) – the solution to acquiring, curating, and exploring data. RexDB is an enabling technology. But great research requires more. In addition to tools, researchers need the appropriate staffing (a cross-functional team) and exceptional governance processes that adhere to best practices (centralization of data management functions, etc). This is the gap we at Prometheus Research fill.
Join us as we redesign and open-source the RexDB platform. Here are a few of the topics we’ll be covering in the OS Blog:
- Data models
- Measure configuration and versioning
- When to organize and curate data (up front!)
- Security and HIPAA/HITECH compliance
- Data persistence and reuse
- Best practices in using iDM queries
- Descriptive statistics
- User experience
Our team values transparency and an open forum, so get involved and check back often!