What is DCAS?
The Data Collection Application Suite (DCAS) is a government-owned suite of applications to support health research studies, originally developed for the CDC and significantly enhanced for the National Children’s Study (NCS). DCAS provides all elements for a health research study, including content authoring, case management, data collection in multiple modes (Windows, Web, mobile, online/offline), data management and data delivery. DCAS is developed in the following technologies: .Net (C#), Java, objective C, XML, MS SQL Server.
Current stage: DCAS executables, source code and databases with demo data reside on DCASProject.org website and accessible by request.
To access DCAS source code from DCASProject.org you must register and agree to the DCAS License, including:
1. Provide your name, organization and e-mail address for registration
2. DCAS License is based on the MIT Open Source License: Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions that you must agree with:
a. THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.
b. If you modify DCAS code you have to rebrand it under another name identifying a credit to NIH/NICHD DCAS original version
c. There is no warranty for DCAS Open Source software
d. NIH/NICHD or DCAS maintainer is not responsible to troubleshoot or fix any problems regardless of whether the problem existed in the original code or modified code
If you wish to contribute to DCAS development community you need to upload your changes to the DCAS maintainer organization by contacting email@example.com and your changes will be considered for including into DCAS Core
DCAS - Product Suite Overview
DCAS Metadata Editor
DCAS Metadata Editor is a tool for survey content authoring and metadata repository management. Survey logic is represented via metadata making it transparent to study stakeholders. The application allows the content author to preview “on the fly” what the participant, data collector, or data manager will see when running the survey. It supports built-in instrument versioning and enables easy content reuse.
The metadata repository can be used for a single study or across multiple studies, allowing scientists and researchers to easily create and maintain study content and protocols while previewing data collection questionnaires and delivery datasets. DCAS Metadata Editor also provides support for multiple language surveys allowing NCS to perform data collection in Spanish.
DCAS Starter is a field case management system that provides the ability to create and manage participants, event and other related operational data, and to initiate the data collection on health study instruments (configurable to support different protocol requirements). Besides single data entry mode, DCAS Starter also supports double data entry mode allowing for manual data entry from paper based data collection, data comparison and data merge.
DCAS Data Collection
DCAS Data Collection is able to capture, store and validate the data items associated with a health study instrument on a connected or disconnected data collection device. It supports multiple data collection modes of administration including CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interview), ACASI (Audio Computer Assisted Self Interview), and CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interview). Its representation of instruments (as defined in the DCAS Metadata Editor) can handle skip patterns that enable control of the survey flow branching based on previous responses as well as on the predefined metadata logic. The application is also able to perform complex dynamic text substitutions based on gender, child count and other collected data. In addition to the questionnaire data collection, the application collects extensive timing information during data collection and supports extensive auditing. One unique capability of the application is the advanced data reconciliation support allowing for automated smart data reconciliation between rosters and loops.
DCAS Data Services
DCAS Data Services provides the ability to load participant data to the disconnected data collection devices and aggregate collected data into the central database. The application supports built-in encryption and includes the ability to import data from other formats.
DCAS Data Factory
DCAS Data Factory provides the ability to export the operational and instrument data to a defined data format, with support for the Vanguard Data Repository (VDR) XML format.
DCAS Integration provides a data transmission capability to move data between DCAS and a third-party system. It is uses a timestamp based change tracking mechanism to identify data changes that need to be replicated and provides data discrepancy reports to identify any data issues. The SugarCRM product is the first supported third-party system for this application.