Duke Research Computing offers guidance and support for data management through:

  • intensive involvement in the adoption and development of tools and systems that guide or even completely automate the capture of metadata required for data re-discovery, establishing provenance, and data systematics
  • consultation with researchers from the inception of research plans, so that data management problems can be planned for and used to strengthen proposals
  • working with other groups in disciplines and at the institutional level to ease execution of data management planning and execution and to resolve issues of compliance and security

Data storage and data management at one point could hide behind each other, since sizes and complexity of research data were often simple and easily comprehended. Sharing commonly used data was easy, oftentimes within a publication or easily on a diskette or email attachment. Indeed samples may have been a preferred medium to deliver “data.” With the development of technologies that greatly deepen and enrich data collection, storing and managing data have become more distinct.

Secure data access

A major feature of data management work is the Protected Data Network, a secure network area for researchers who use sensitive data in the research. This installation provides flexible computational resources and scalable secure data storage as well as provisions and policies required for FERPA-, HIPAA/HITECH-regulated data, as well as other data that requires stringent security due to data use agreements. The special area can be use by any researcher with data that is sensitive as long as the security provisions of the Protected Data Network align with data use agreements and legal requirements. Groups such as the Social Sciences Research Institute (SSRI; http://ssri.duke.edu/) have developed a set of services that complement the infrastructure, making it easier for researchers to comply with security requirements.

Duke is among the leading innovators in the design and maintenance of computational environments for sensitive research data and is currently conducting research supported by the National Science Foundation to extend its work in Software-Defined Network and federation authentication and authorization methods (NSF OCI-1246042 and NSF ACI-1440588).

Additional information about the Duke Protected Data Network is available from the Information Technology Security Office web site: https://security.duke.edu/.

To get involved contact rescomputing@duke.edu. Materials on the Protected Data Network suitable for inclusion in grant proposals is available.