In Search of an Academic Research Data Management Tool to Rule Them All

I have been struggling with keeping track of various research projects and their progress, documenting failed experiments, processing the deluge of incoming sequencing data, managing the various local and international collaborators, and detailing the methods and parameters used to aggregate, analyze, and work through versions of manuscript within in the laboratory and with collaborators. This is particularly challenging as new projects come online and you and your collaborators have to keep track of incoming data and the evolution of data tools and analysis methods.GitHubEducation

In comes Git / GitHub and Bitbucket. I’ve stayed away from these because frankly, I don’t understand them and the learning curve scares the bejesus out of me. But I’ve been on vacation and spent some time reading about GitHub, their GitHub Education Program and the many opportunities available for collaborative sharing of experimental protocols, data, and analysis. Through this program, I have the ability to track progress through the various stages of experimental design, data collection, and analysis of results while also preserving data privacy and confidentiality through the use of private repositories.

The most interesting and exciting part of GitHub is the ability to track and compare changes over time while maintain detailed records of the multiple parallel tracks my science takes on my journey from hypothesis forming through manuscript submission and revisions. Will GitHub be applicable for every project? For interactions with every collaborator? Probably not. But it seems a good place to start.