The Global Health Databox is a new project that aims to provide a free, open access data management resource for independent data management, storage and sharing to researchers from LMICs (low middle income countries) who require support.

Databox aims to provide users with remote support by expert programmers and data managers to assist the investigators to develop their research databases and carry out good data management. Specifically, researchers will be provided with technical assistance for: design and development of the research database, defining the data collection and capture procedures, data quality and validation, data reporting and database closure and archiving. This support will be provided online by system programmers and data managers.

The development of the Global Health Databox has been divided into four main areas of work with the first, a current review of the data management tools commonly used for electronic data capture, complete. Next detailed guidance and support tools will be developed to be made available online via a dedicated web hub with ultimate aim being to provide online data management and programming support for researchers in LMICs.



Situation

A recently conducted survey1, has identified that researchers in many parts of Africa and Asia collect and store data using tools and systems that do not ensure data integrity and fail to meet the global standards for ensuring good data management. Researchers use these data management tools because they have limited resources, limited technical expertise in data management and have no access to an established clinical research unit or data management support group.

Databox will aim to reach out to these independent researchers in low and middle income countries with three main objectives:

1. To increase the use of appropriate data management systems in academic research in low-resource settings.
2. To facilitate investigators to perform data management to global standards, thus enabling them to produce datasets that are both valid for their original research aim and can be shared with other academic research institutions.
3. To increase the capacity for data management in academic medical research settings.

The Global Health Network also has strong evidence for the need for Databox from the following sources:

• Requests for guidance and advice on the Global Health Trials platform (quantitative and qualitative data)
• Interview, focus group, survey and questionnaire data from various studies conducted by The Global Health Network with target users.
• Published papers, conference presentation and posters 
• Meetings and workshops held with collaborators with The Global Health Network

Benefits

• Raise data management standards, prevent duplication and speed up implementation of better data management across all types of studies.
• Add value to the research enterprise within the partner organizations involved because it will offer the research staff access to trusted and recommended tools and resources in one central location.
• Establish a data management community of practice, data management experts from established academic and research institutions and offer support to upcoming researchers. 
• Establish regional forums through which mentorship in data management can be provided and thus building local data management capacity.
• Provide a channel through which opportunities in data management can be shared and thus foster career growth for data management professionals.


The following groups are already making progressive strides within their specific focus area and are committed to collaborating together within The Global Health Network to find a widely applicable shared solution for data management practices:


The Global Health Network
World-Wide Antimalaria Resistance Network (WWARN)
Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Vietnam
Kemri-Wellcome Programme, Kenya
Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit
International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium (ISARIC)

For more information about this initiative please contact us at: data@theglobalhealthnetwork.org


 

1Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threat analysis (SWOT) of 11 widely used proprietary open access data management tools used in low and middle income settings.