REDCap was created in 2004 at Vanderbilt University. It originally supported a small group of clinical researchers who needed a secure data collection tool that met HIPAA compliance standards. REDCap quickly became their go-to method for supporting both single and multi-site research studies.
REDCap’s developers firmly believed that nobody could know the research as well as the researcher. So a user-friendly web-based interface was introduced to put the researchers in total control of their work. No background knowledge or technical experience was needed to use REDCap; researchers could directly manage their own projects whenever and however they wished, through any browser on any device.
Vanderbilt was now able to invest minimal institutional resources yet still safely and reliably support an increasing number of research studies in REDCap. They explored ways to disseminate the now mature software, as well as to foster broader collaboration for future development.
In 2006, the REDCap consortium officially launched. The consortium began as a handful of non-profit organizations interested in expanding REDCap’s functionality through collaborative software development. Each partner site was given access to the codebase so that they could install their own REDCap system and offer it to their researchers as Vanderbilt had done for its own clinical researchers.
The consortium focused on building a strong community, with international participation right from the start. REDCap usage began to grow rapidly as organizations realized they could 1) fully customize their systems to meet their local security policies, 2) personalize features/functionality to address user needs, and 3) have direct input into the future direction of the software – all at no cost.
Over the next few years, consortium sites across the world found that REDCap empowered them to take control of their work in a way they couldn’t with previous data collection tools. Researchers reported that the very process of using the software actually improved research, through REDCap’s fundamental features/functionality (like the Project Setup checklist and Shared Library of pre-built instruments).
The consortium established annual in-person conferences in 2009 and continued to expand REDCap in subsequent years, introducing features to support more diverse types of data collection. The software evolved into a neutral data collection platform – able to capture any type of data, for any purpose. REDCap is now used for just about any type of data collection you can imagine, across thousands of non-profit and government organizations. Each system is independently maintained and supported. So consortium partner sites truly do have total control…and it’s all still provided at absolutely no cost.
REDCap offers a free, easy-to-use, and secure method of flexible yet robust data collection. The REDCap consortium continues to actively develop the software – relying on the feedback of a passionate global community. Partner sites can participate in a variety of consortium activities, networking, and educational opportunities as much (or as little) as they wish. Please explore the Partners page to see if your organization is already a consortium partner site. If it isn’t, please explore our website to learn about how you can join us!