Our Research software engineers (RSEs) are helping researchers in the Centre for Musculoskeletal Research launch a tool for sharing best practice in study design and management. The Extant Study Catalogue will allow researchers at Manchester and further afield to share details of their study design, datasets and coding practices, with a view to developing a shared data dictionary that can be used to make studies more easily comparable.
The tool was initially developed several years ago by an external provider but actual deployment was delayed. Research IT conducted a full code review of the software to identify areas that may need updating prior to launch, and to ensure that the tool meets central IT services guidelines for externally accessible web applications.
As the tool will be administered by support staff within the Centre, our RSEs held a number of technical planning meetings with the unit to discuss potential updates to the software considering issues such as the sustainability of technologies used, ongoing support requirements, ease of making alterations and updates to the tool, and the security implications of an external-facing website.
By working closely with Prof Wendy Thomson’s group, Research IT have been able to provide a comprehensive service considering the needs of the users of the tools and the support staff maintaining it, both now and in the future. Further development will take place over the coming months and the tool will be launched to researchers in early 2017. The continued involvement of Research IT in the ongoing development of the tool thereafter will ensure it continues to provide value to researchers well into the future.
If you have existing software that you’d like to make more of, or you think Research IT’s software and planning skills will be of benefit to you, get in touch for a consultation.