REDCap FAQs

I am leaving UCSF but I still need to work on REDCap projects.

Once your accounts have been in-activated, then you need to have your UCSF PI request an account (external account) for you.  

When that request is processed, then new login credentials will be provided to you. 

You can then provide your new (external collaborator) username to your PI and he/she can then grant you access, themselves, to the project you were working on.

What is REDCap?

REDCap stands for Research Electronic Data Capture. The purpose of REDCap is to provide medical researchers with a professionally managed, secure, web based, HIPAA compliant environment for building and managing web-based projects. It was developed by Vanderbilt University and funded by NIH so that researchers can do quality research, both securely and effectively. REDCap has a fast and flexible set-up for data entry forms and surveys and you control access to your projects. To learn more about REDCap and REDCap Survey, demonstration and tutorial videos are currently available on the website for the REDCap Consortium at http://www.project-redcap.org/videos.php.

How does REDCap work?

REDCap is accessible from any device with an internet connection, so you can run it on an ipad as well as a laptop. When you enter data into REDCap, it runs on our servers, but it is displayed on your local monitor. It looks and feels as if it is running on your own computer, but it isn’t. This provides great security because files containing sensitive data never leave our data center. You can import data into REDCap as well as export data from REDCap.

Who can apply for access to REDCap?

REDCap is available to all UCSF faculty and staff and to non-UCSF collaborators who are working with a member of the UCSF community.

Will I need a new login and password for REDCap?

At this time authentication is done through the UCSF Campus Active Directory (AD) domain. Users with accounts in this domain will use the same credentials to login to REDCap as they do to login into their desktop systems and their email. UCSF faculty and staff with accounts in other AD domains such as the Medical Center or the School of Medicine will be provided with accounts in the Campus domain. Non-UCSF collaborators will be provided with accounts that are specific to REDCap.

How can I sign up for this service?

To sign up, contact the IT Service Desk at 514-4100. The Servcie Desk is available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Or fill out an online application at https://ucsf.service-now.com/ess/order_accounts.do

What REDCap support will be provided?

Support personnel are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time. Please contact its-arssupport@ucsf.edu or you can call the IT Service Desk at 514-4100 and submit a ServiceNow ticket. There is a phone, e-mail and web based ticketing system to track all issues. The data center is supported 24/7.

What security measures will be in place?

REDCap is hosted at the UCSF Minnesota Street data center and is housed in a locked and guarded data center staffed at all hours (24 X 7). Entrance to the data center requires use of a card key to unlock the data center door and a second card key lock secures the cage that the servers reside within. The security of the data center is further protected by an Operations desk that is staffed 24x7 and by a security camera system. REDCap servers are guarded by multiple firewall and intrusion detection systems. All electronic connections to the REDCap environment are encrypted. The REDCap production system is comprised of a web server front-end and a MySQL database server back-end. The web server resides in a demilitarized zone to ensure that survey participants are able to access REDCap surveys from any device connected to the Internet. The MySQL server back-end resides in the protected ISU subnet that is protected by UCSF maintained firewalls. The data stored in the REDCap MySQL database server can be accessed by the REDCap end users by logging into https://redcap.ucsf.edu and opening the REDCap project(s) that they have been granted access to by the owners of the projects. Only ITS and ISU system administrators are authorized to access the back-end database server directly by logging into the virtual private network for the database server resides in.

How will data be backed up?

REDCap databases are backed up on a regularly scheduled basis. The backup data files are kept in a secured environment and are available for recovery.

Can I access my data 24/7?

Yes, the servers are available 24/7 except every Thursday evening from 6-11.59pm due to system maintenance.

How much will the service cost?

There is no charge to REDCap users for this service.

How much space is available?

In general there is sufficient space to handle typical researcher requirements. Large file requirements will be handled on a case by case basis.

How many studies can I have?

There is no limit to the number of databases or surveys you can have.

Will my data be purged?

There are no plans to purge data from the site.

Will my data be examined for HIPAA compliance?

No, this service provides a safe storage facility for your data. You are responsible for complying with data security regulations.

From where can I access my data?

Your data can be accessed from any PC or Mac or other device that is connected to the Internet. Access will require use of the login credentials associated with your account.

How will my data get transferred to the REDCap environment?

Data can be uploaded to REDCap via the Data Import Tool, an application provided by REDCap. Once logged into REDCap, users click on the Data Import Tool and a set of basic step by step instructions will enable you to import data.

Can I take data out of REDCap?

Yes, data can be transferred to your local encrypted device. REDCap allows you to deselect PHI data prior to downloading from here. Please make sure that your device is properly encrypted if your data contains PHI. As of February, 2009, maximum fines are $1.5 million (Federal) and $250,000 (State) for malicious or negligent use of PHI data. California law allows fines to be levied against individuals in addition to those levied against institutions, and several such incidents have already occurred.

How will you insure that no one else gets access to my data?

Only you or the collaborators you designate will have access to your files. To ensure the security of REDCap, you must never share your login or password with anyone else.

Which browser can I use?

REDCap runs under a variety of browsers including Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari.

How will I print necessary documents?

When you print in REDCap, it will be converted to a PDF file and displayed in a tab in the browser you used to connect to REDCap. From there, you can print it to any printer you have access to from your desktop.

What is the relationship between REDCap and the Integrated Data Repository?

Any data that you would like extracted from the Integrated Data Repository (IDR) for a REDCap project will be first deposited within the MyResearch environment. The IDR is a research data warehouse containing large amounts of de-identified patient data drawn from the clinical systems at UCSF. The user interface to the IDR is called the Cohort Selection Tool, and it is one of the applications available in MyResearch. Users can use the Cohort Selection tool to define a de-identified cohort of interest for their research. Upon validation of the appropriate CHR protocol, ARS staff will provide the identified version of the cohort to the user by depositing the identified data file in a user’s MyResearch account.

What software will I need on my computer to use REDCap

REDCap can be accessed through any of the latest internet browser (eg. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, etc.) software, so your computer must have the necessary software to host an internet browser.

Does REDCap work on smart phones or iPads?

Yes, you can access REDCap with these devices though it may be difficult to view due to limitation on the display device.

Can anyone sign up for a new REDCap account?

Yes, you can request a new REDCap account at The Principal Investigator of a REDCap account must be UCSF affiliated. For medical students requesting a new REDCap account, their advisor will be the PI of the site. For units requesting sites that are not research related, the Director or Department Head will be designated as the PI of the REDCap account.

What kind of feedback and comments have you received from REDCap users?

Here are some feedback and comments we have received to date:

  1. “This is really great – I have international studies and collaborators so a resource like this is invaluable.”
  2. “I have no programming skills and was able to set up my survey and database in one afternoon!”
  3. “Thank you! We are working on a multisite study and I was able to set up data access groups for each site.”

I can’t log into REDCap, it says invalid username or password?

Please check that you are using your campus username/password to log into REDCap. If you still cannot access REDCap using your campus credentials, please call the IT Service Desk at 514-4100 to help them reset your password here. If you have a non-UCSF REDCap account, please email its-arssupportt@ucsf.edu and they will help you reset your password here.

Now I am set up in REDCap I have some questions. Who can I ask for help?

You can call the IT Service Desk at 514-4100 or email its-arssupport@ucsf.edu with any questions.

If you would like a one-on-one consultation, please contact its-arssupport@ucsf.edu  to set up a consultation.

We also hold regular REDCap training classes and webinars if you are interested in attending for both beginner and advanced level users. Please check out our Training page for more information on this.