CTSI’s Consultation Services Data Management Unit (DMU) is just one of the successful research resources available on campus to help UCSF faculty and staff with his/her research. Along with many other data management services, the DMU also provides consultation in data processing to help transform research data into a statistically analyzable format. In our efforts to provide consultation to the UCSF research community, we have realized that some trainees and faculty do not have the programming skills or resources to perform data processing tasks that are necessary to keep their research moving forward. Complicated data merges and transformations require specific programming expertise to ensure that it is performed correctly. Data management programmers, who can devote more time and effort to small projects, are needed. The DMU’s ability to provide these services is very limited. As a result, we have identified a gap in services that the Data Management Unit is currently able to provide.
All research requires some level of data management programming. This expertise exists far and wide across campus. Regrettably, there is not an easy way to identify these experts. Our goal is to form a community of data managers on campus. The purpose of this community would be to 1.) identify specific data management programming expertise across campus, 2.) pool resources by sharing job descriptions, computer programs, workflow processes and standard operating procedures, and 3.) identify data managers who are able to provide services on a short-term, variable-effort basis.
Data management programming is an integral step in preparing research results. Expanding access to data management services that include programming will greatly impact the efficiency, accuracy, and productivity of research at UCSF. By leaving complicated programming tasks to the experts, researchers will be able to spend more time writing grants and developing manuscripts.
Most data managers on campus are in the Analyst, Programmer Analyst or Biostatistician job title category. With the help of UCSF’s Operational Excellence Human Resources group we would first survey all UCSF staff within these job classifications to find data manager and biostatistical programmers who would fit well into our Data Management for Research Community. The two main inclusion criteria would include those with 1) data management/programming expertise and 2) who work in a research environment. Those who fit the criteria will be invited to join the Data Management for Research Community. Membership would provide access to data management resources and a subscription to a quarterly Data Management for Research Community newsletter. In return, we would require that each person fill out a brief Data Management questionnaire to help identify his/her data management expertise as well as a follow-up questionnaire to assess satisfaction with becoming a member. Specifically, the Data Management questionnaire would ask questions regarding the programmers area of research and UCSF department, level of experience in working with large national databases, clinical trials, observational studies, cross-sectional studies, etc., and level of expertise in various data management and statistical programs, including SQL, VisualBasic, FoxPro, MSAccess, SAS, Stata, SPSS, excel, etc. We would also ask questions regarding his/her preference for different levels of engagement, such as, email, conference call and/or in person meetings. Through this process we hope to create a network of managers/programmers who are able to work with the DMU, an inventory of data management resources, and opportunities for providing data management services on a short-term, variable-effort basis to those who need it.
Total Budget: $25,343
A 20% Analyst I for 12 months will be needed to survey staff, set up the questionnaire in RedCap and compile/store inventory of resources. A 5% Programmer Analyst for 12 months will provide content to the newsletter and design the questionnaires.
Criteria and Metrics of Success: Number of data management programmers identified, overall response rate, rate of membership enrollment, inventory of data management resources, number of data managers who are able to provide services and satisfaction with membership.
Janet Coffman, MA, MPP, PhD and CELDAC,
Laura Bettencourt and the San Francisco Coordinating Center
Joe Hesse, Department of Neurology
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