Accumulate Data

Various fields of study each have their own data types, templates, and collection methods, but many of the resources and best practices remain the same. Data accumulation is the first step in the circle of Research Data, from accumulation to processing to analysis.

Directory of Resources for Researchers

The Office of Campus Research Cores’ Resource Directory connects researchers to campus resources that facilitate the accumulation of data. Some of the resources that may be helpful with this are the Chemistry department, Skin Disease Research Center, UW Survey Center, among others. Most of these resources offer equipment or lab space for researchers to use.

File Access, Storing, and Sharing

Research Data Services offers consultations about tools for collaborating and sharing data, including best practices for organization and file naming. Read about their data sharing essentials.

UW-Madison has agreements with the following service providers to allow UW-Madison students, faculty, staff, and researchers access to the following:

  • G Suite (formerly Google Apps): Share documents, spreadsheets, presentations, forms and drawings with an unlimited quota. Collaborate in real-time with your team or with your whole school. You can publish final documents to the entire world, too. Use your UW-Madison Google App account instead of your personal account to protect your intellectual property rights.
  • Box: Store, organize, manage, and share unlimited data in a personal space or request a group/project folder with its own space.
  • OneDrive: Share and store up to 1 TB of files that can edited simultaneously by file collaborators.
  • Electronic Lab Notebooks: A modern way to not only manage the results of research efforts, but also record and document research processes and procedures.

There is a comparison chart available that compares different features of the following collaboration tools: UW-Madison Google Drive, Box, and OneDrive.

The Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR) maintains a page to help determine which data management tool to use with clinical studies.

If you need to recover analog or digital data from obsolete or deteriorating media, contact Recovering Analog and Digital Data (RADD).

Version Control Systems

Version Control Systems record changes to a file or set of files over time so that you can recall specific versions later. Centralized Version Control Systems allowed multiple people to work from the same data on one server. Distributed Version Control Systems allow separate groups of people to simultaneously access projects from fully mirrored repositories.

GIT (available as either a local install or on GitHub), Subversion (SVN), and Mercurial are free, open-source, and widely used. An incredibly detailed overview chart of available software can be found on Wikipedia. offers version control tutorials both in general and with GIT. Software Carpentry offeres tutorials on GIT.

Surveys and Statistics

Available to all faculty, staff, and students, the Qualtrics Survey Hosting Center allows the campus community to easily create surveys, collect and store data, and produce reports. The UW Survey Center can help you design and implement all components of a survey including report writing and analysis.

Amazon Mechanical Turk, a crowdsourcing internet marketplace, provides access to workers that can help to complete work, feedback, or surveys on an as-needed basis.

Additional Sources of Data

The University of Wisconsin Digital Collections (UWDC) provides access to rare or fragile items of broad research value.

The Internet Scout research team develops tools and services for finding, filtering, and presenting online information and metadata.

The UW-Madison Libraries Research Guides provides references and information on a myriad of research topics.

The Skin Disease Research Center (SDRC) offers different services through the Experimental Cutaneous Pathology Core (ECPC) and the Cell Culture Core.


The Discovery Shared Research Equipment (SHARE) allows researchers to try out the latest in scientific equipment on loan to the teaching labs from various companies.

The University of Wisconsin Biotechnology Center (UWBC) offers state-of-the-art research services including DNA synthesis and sequencing, peptide synthesis, mass spectrometry, and a transgenic facility.

Resources for Select Audiences

College of Engineering
ICTR Members

Resource Links

3D Printing
Amazon Mechanical Turk
Directory of Resources for Researchers
Discovery Shared Research Equipment (SHARE)
Division of Information Technology (DoIT)
Electronic Lab Notebooks (ELN)
Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR)
Internet Scout
Qualtrics Survey Hosting Service
Recovering Analog and Digital Data (RADD)
Research Data Services (RDS)
Software Carpentry
University of Wisconsin Digital Collections (UWDC)
UW-Madison Libraries Research Guides
Wikipedia Software Comparison Charts

Process Raw Data

Does your data need to be manipulated, processed, or reorganized in order to successfully analyze or visualize it?

Directory of Resources for Researchers

The Directory of Resources for Researchers, maintained by the Office of Campus Research Cores, connects researchers to campus resources that facilitate the processing of data. The UW Survey Center can help with this. Many of the resources included in the directory offer training or lab space for researchers to use.

Building on the information provided in Initiate: Plan Computing Environment on finding or developing software, planning your computing infrastructure, and accessing large scale computing, there are several resources on campus to help you prepare your raw data for analysis. If you have questions about campus research computing resources, please contact your Research Computing Facilitator.

  • QDA Tools at Merit provides support to researchers with regards to data preparation using Qualitative Data Analysis tools.
  • The Social Science Computing Cooperative supports researchers that use statistical analyses in their work.
  • As listed above, the UW Survey Center (UWSC) provides a broad range of high quality survey research services.
  • Data Carpentry, a partner of software carpentry, is being designed to teach basic concepts, skills and tools for working more effectively with data.

Resource Links

Data Carpentry
Directory of Resources for Researchers
QDA Tools at MERIT
Research Computing Facilitators (RCFs)
Social Science Computing Cooperative (SSCC)

Visualize & Analyze Data

Building on the resources discussed above and in Initiate: Plan Computing Environment, once you have your data gathered, stored, and initially processed, interpreting your data and visually communicating the information as clearly as possible is the next step in the circle of Research Data.

Directory of Resources for Researchers

TheDirectory of Resources for Researchers connects researchers to campus resources that facilitate the visualization and analysis of data. The Skin Disease Research Center and the UW Survey Center may be useful resources. Many of the resources included in the directory offer equipment or lab space for researchers to use.

Guidance and Software Lists

In addition to providing consultations and training, Research Data Services (RDS) has also developed an overview and software short list.

Biomedical Analysis and Interpretation

The Biomedical Informatics (BMI) Core of Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR) assists with large-scale -omics analysis and interpretation, including developing new methods as needed. The imaging informatics group offers a range of software tools to analyze and interpret medical imaging data.

The Skin Disease Research Center (SDRC) offers access through the Experimental Cutaneous Pathology Core (ECPC) to inForm® Tissue Finder™, an advanced image analysis software.

OMICtools is a catalog of over 11,000 software packages that are useful for analyzing -omic data. It is designed to help experimental researchers, clinicians, developers, and funding agencies.


The Living Environments Laboratory (LEL) seeks out collaborators from across the UW-Madison who share an affinity for incorporating 3D design, visualization, and virtual reality environments into research. Their Spaces, Equipment, and Technology facilitate this type of visualization.

Wisconsin Public Television (WPT) Production Services from Wisconsin Public Television helps visualize data and communicate research to both general and specialized audiences through 3-D modelling and animation, illustration and graphic design.

Custom Software and Training

Each of the resources that help you create custom software, listed on the right for convenient access, could be useful in creating scripts and tools to analyze and visualize your data. Most of the resources who help accumulate data can also offer guidance on how to analyze it.

Resource Links

CALS Statistical Consulting Facility
Directory of Resources for Researchers
DoIT Software Training for Students (STS)
ICTR Biomedical Informatics (ICTR BMI)
QDA Tools at MERIT
Research Data Services (RDS)
Social Science Computing Cooperative (SSCC)
Software Carpentry
Wisconsin Public Television Production Services (WPT)

Report Progress

Throughout the duration of your grant, your funding agency will require you to periodically report your findings and financial progress.

Projects through UW-Madison

You will work with your Grant Administrator and RSP (Research and Sponsored Programs) to report spending, grant modifications, and other finance related items throughout the course of the grant. RSP offers various websites and tools to assist you.

  • Financial Reporting: All financial reports at UW-Madison are provided by RSP. PIs (Principle Investigators) are given automatic access to WISDM (Wisconsin Data Mart for PeopleSoft Financials) once they have a funded project through UW-Madison, and should use this resource to monitor expenditures and balances. RSP will notify you if they require supplemental materials or information to complete financial reports, but PIs and adminstrators should never submit financial reports of any kind directly to sponsors. WISDM provides training, tools, and financial reporting and can be used for submitting monthly and fund-department reports.
  • Effort Reporting: Proper effort reporting throughout the research process is essential to ensure:
    • Salaries charged to sponsored projects are reasonable in relation to the work performed
    • Faculty and staff have met their commitments to sponsored projects

    The effort of each person paid on a research project must be certified through ECRT; some individuals will use the ECRT (the Effort Reporting Tool) to certify their own effort, while others must be certified by the PI. Online training for effort reporting is available through the CITI (Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative) Portal.

  • No Cost Extensions: If at any point you realize that you need to file a no cost extension, submit the form in WISPER with your Grant Administrator.

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Education (VCRGE) provides the PI Portal, a dashboard and on-ramp for all research administration and compliance.

Federal Grants

All federal grants now follow the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR).

Note: Although Fastlane can no longer be used to submit progress reports through the National Science Foundation (NSF), PIs can still use Fastlane to communicate with the NSF throughout the course of the project.

Writing Assistance for Students

The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Writing Center offers individual help, workshops, and online resources for all students including graduate and professional students. Individual help can be specifically tailored to ensure clear communication and reporting of findings.

Resource Links

Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative Portal (CITI)
Effort Reporting Tool (ECRT)
PI Portal
Research and Sponsored Programs (RSP)
Writing Center
Wisconsin Data Mart (WISDM)
WISconsin Proposal Electronic Routing System (WISPER)

Accumulate Data

Process Raw Data

Visualize & Analyze Data

Report Progress