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Research Data Information Systems

Odum’s Research Data Information Systems (RDIS) group offers consultation & training, provides IT resources, and participates in funded projects. Our focus is data-driven research achieved by providing resources to help manage, analyze, and share research data. We feel that high-quality, open, and reproducible research processes require managed research data workflows and computational cyberenvironments. We help researchers plan, manage, analyze, and share research data throughout the research data lifecycle. Data is at the heart of data science and the Odum RDIS group is here to help your research data needs.

IT Infrastructure Support

We provide information technology support for Odum staff, consultants, and Odum’s open labs and classrooms. We offer a wide array of qualitative and quantitative research analysis tools, including:

  • Qualitative Software: ATLAS.ti 8, F4, MAXQDA 2018 and QSR NVivo 12
  • Quantitative Software: R 3.6.1, RStudio, SAS 9.4 (32-Bit), Stata SE 16, SPSS 26, TeXstudio 2.5.2 and Tinn-R

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RDIS Staff

Deborah Ferguson

Systems Administrator


A headshot of Don Sizemore.

Don Sizemore

Systems Programmer/Analyst

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Consultations & Guest Lectures


Our consultants (listed above) offer consultations on RDIS development and grant proposals. Brief consultations are available free-of-charge, and more in-depth assistance and support is provided on a cost-reimbursement basis.

To request a consultation with any of our consultants, please email them at the addresses listed above. For desktop support questions concerning Odum Institute machines or computer labs, please email Deborah Ferguson.

Jonathan Crabtree:

  • Technology solutions & infrastructure design
  • Sensitive data
  • Complex data storage needs
  • Infrastructure tools for data storage replication
  • Data preservation
  • Information systems auditing
  • Active research project data management
  • Proposal development

Don Sizemore:

  • Linux installation and support
  • Ansible Automation script designs
  • Dataverse support
  • iRODS deployments
  • R package management and installations

Akio Sone:

  • Java EE (Jakarta EE) application development
  • Dataverse customization
  • Custom data ingest algorithms

Matthew Dunlap:

  • Python & Java web development
  • General Dataverse support


Members of the RDIS team are also available to give guest lectures for classes and organizational meetings. If you would like to schedule a guest lecture on the above topics or on Odum services in general, please contact Jonathan Crabtree at or visit our guest lecture request page.

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Research Project Planning & Development

Our RDIS team offers custom project-based resources that are designed for each project’s needs. These range from sensitive data management and advanced compute infrastructure for multi-threaded applications to custom data management solutions.

Our consultants often coordinate projects and infrastructure with other RDIS providers such as ITS Research Computing and RENCI to find the right custom solution for each research project and help take the confusion out of RDIS design.

They can also provide infrastructure support for funded projects and serve as investigators or senior personnel on proposals as needed. For more information, please contact

Infrastructure tools are selected based on project needs. Tools we have used include:

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Data Publishing & Sharing Infrastructure

We deploy and manage the UNC Dataverse infrastructure for use by the UNC community and the Odum Archive Group. We offer custom development or deployments of tools for external connections to Dataverse. These range from metadata exploration and data analysis tools to data visualization applications or machine learning tools. We can build these from scratch or leverage existing platforms such as R Shiny, Google Maps, or JupyterLabs.

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Current & Past Projects

Click the sections below to learn about some of our current projects, software repositories and collaborations. Please contact our group for custom estimates for your project.

This is the home for Odum-developed, Open Sourced software projects:

Scientific progress today requires multi-institutional and cross-disciplinary sharing and analysis of data. Many disciplines, such as social and health-related sciences, face a web of policies and technological constraints on data due to privacy concern over, for example, Personal Health Information (PHI) or Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Issues of privacy, safety, competition, and ownership have led to regulations controlling data location, availability, movement, and access.

Compliance poses obstacles to traditional data-processing practices and slows research; yet, increasingly, pressing scientific and societal problems demand collaborative efforts involving data from multiple stakeholders.

Project ImPACT (Infrastructure for Privacy-Assured CompuTations) will free researchers to focus more fully on science by supporting the analysis of multi-institutional data while satisfying relevant regulations and interests.

This project is funded by the National Science Foundation.

Given current constraints and the need for iterative review, data curation and successful verification of a replication package for a single manuscript requires six hours of labor on average.With CoRe2 (Confirmable Reproducible Research Environment), we hope to make the process more efficient and effective, so researchers can spend more time doing science.

This project is funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

The emergence of massive data collections (i.e. “Big Data”) has ushered a paradigm shift in the way scientific research is conducted and new knowledge is discovered. Traditional observe-hypothesis-test model of small-scale scientific endeavor is increasingly augmented and, in some cases, supplanted with collaborative scientific research applying complex patterns of data integration and analysis involving multi-disciplinary teams from distributed organizations brought together to solve a common problem.

Emerging cyber-infrastructure solutions necessitate addressing the needs of domain scientists from multiple angles, including data access, metadata management, large-scale analytics and workflows, data and application discovery and sharing, and data preservation.

The aim of the CyberCarpentry workshop is to make it easier for participants to learn all aspects of the data-intensive computing environment, and more importantly, to work together with other researchers with complementary expertise: domain scientists with computer and information scientists.

This program is funded by the National Science Foundation.

The Global Dataverse Community Consortium (GDCC) is dedicated to providing international organization to existing Dataverse community efforts and will provide a collaborative venue for institutions to leverage economies of scale in support of Dataverse repositories around the world.

International collaboration to promote the replicability of research findings and the sharing of research data has never been more important. For decades, IFDO – the International Federation of Data Organizations – has been at the center of these conversations in the social science community.

IFDO was founded in the mid 1970’s in response to evolving research needs of the international social science community. The founders felt it would be beneficial to coordinate worldwide data services and thus enhance social science research. Through the foresight and planning of the late Stein Rokkan, IFDO became a reality in November 1977.

In the decades that followed, IFDO was led by Ekkehard Mochmann, who retired as president in 2009. IFDO maintains associate memberships in the International Science Council of UNESCO and participates regularly in the International Science Information Services and Technology (IASSIST). IFDO’s membership spans the globe, and it currently has 35 social science archives on its roster. Jonathan Crabtree is currently serving as president.

We are leading a Social Sciences & Humanities Research Data (SSHRD) Interest Group under the auspices of the Research Data Alliance (RDA), to foster diverse professional exchange on issues particular to data originating from the social sciences and humanities.

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Data cover many disciplines, appear in many data types, deal with multiple objects and levels, and are very distributed – coming from various sources. It could be described as a patchwork quilt, lacking a grand design or focus. On the other hand, it is a way to cover the whole spectrum, to be flexible in collecting data.

There is a huge potential reuse of SSHRD – for researchers, but also for professionals outside universities, for companies, governments, and for citizens.

National and international funders are increasingly mandating open data and data management policies that call for the long-term storage and accessibility of data. If we want to be able to share data, we need to store them in a trustworthy data repository. Odum’s participation in the CoreTrustSeal facilitates the certification of repositories around the world increasing trust, quality, and access to valuable research inputs that our community requires.

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