Working with some of our human studies laboratories, we have developed a website-wrapped database system for self-signup, contact tracking, visit tracking and other related data for experiments with human subjects.
The Open Source Subject Database Project, provided by the Center for Brains, Minds and Machines, is a free*, open source alternative to systems that require annual fees, expensive developers and proprietary software, such as FileMaker Pro, etc. It is built on the free and open source Drupal 8 platform (PHP, MySQL, Apache), which is widely used in Higher Ed, government, corporations and many others and is fully customizable.
This system allows you to have the public signup for subject studies, track communications and visits with the subjects, and track your experiments in a web accessible database that requires no additional or proprietary software. There is a public-facing side of the system that allows for individuals to register themselves/their family for your studies, and you can have as much or as little information about your lab and research as you'd like.
To access, open a web browser (such as Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Edge, etc.) and go to the web address of your site (once setup). Behind the password access is all of the information collected and entered by those authorized to edit or view.
With SSL/certificates enabled (highly recommended during initial site setup and registration), and the Drupal security process in place, this system should be a safe place for your confidential research information. It can be integrated with many single sign-on systems and 2-factor authentication for ease of logging in and additional protection.
This system can be deployed to be web accessible, or if your research oversight requires an "off-the-grid" system, it can be deployed on a stand alone computer with no network connection and no need for web hosting using local free software stacks installed such as MAMP, WAMP or LAMP (Mac, Windows or Linux versions).
*You should check with your Institutional Review Board (IRB), or equivalent oversight group, to make sure your instance of this system would be compliant with governing policies and protections. This could be dependant on what information you are collecting through your instance of this system. As provided here, there is no HIPAA controlled information collected.*
Visit our Tour for screenshots and descriptions of the different parts of the system. Built on Drupal 8, this system is fully customizable with a vast network and community provided upgrades, and Drupal/PHP developers are easy to find, or you can learn how to do it yourself.
Cost & Usage
* The software, the Open Source Subject Database Project by the Center for Brains, Minds and Machines is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (let' us all keep making this better!) & Drupal 8, are both free to use.
Some costs may occur if you want your system accessible via the internet and don't have free website hosting platforms at your institute. For example, if you don't have access to web hosting you can use an external web hosting vendor and pay the fees associated with that.
- Kris Brewer, Director of Technology, Center for Brains, Minds and Machines, MIT (project creator/maintainer)
- Ben Mittman, Lab Manager, Saxelab, MIT
- Jonathan Kominsky, Postdoctoral Associate, Computational Cognitive Development Lab, Rutgers University
- John Henes, System Administrator, Department of Psychology, Rutgers University