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REDCap: Project Statuses and Project Life Cycle

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Build & test project


Enter/protect real data

Draft Mode

Make changes in Production

Analysis / Cleanup

Edit or lock data


No longer access project


Remove project from REDCap


All projects are in Development status when first created. In Development, you can design, build and test your REDCap projects. Changes are implemented in real time, and do not require review. In Development mode, you can adjust any part of the structure of your project, including arms, longitudinal events and instruments assigned to events.

Real data should not be entered into projects in Development mode! You should thoroughly test your project in Development by entering test or practice data. Avoid entering real data into a Development project. Data entry, surveys, calculations and exports will be fully functional while your project is in Development, to allow you to fully test the project setup. Because changes are made in real time, it is possible to easily corrupt or delete data in a project in Development. Additionally, snapshots of the project data dictionary are not logged automatically before and after making a change to the project setup.

Once you have set and thoroughly tested your project, you will want to move it into Production status before you begin to collect data. See REDCap: How to Move Your Project to Production for directions on how to move your project into Production status.

SMPH REDCap administrators will periodically review projects that are in Development status and contact those with over 30 records to verify that the project should be moved into Production. Projects collecting real data MUST be moved to Production status (unless they are listed with a project purpose of Practice or Other - backup/copy).

SMPH REDCap administrators will also periodically review projects that have had no activity for 2 or more years. These development projects should be archived or deleted.

Differences between Development and Production Status in REDCap:

Development vs Production Features
Feature Development Production
Survey and Data Entry Features Function: Yes Yes
"Real" data can be entered: No Yes
Changes can be made to the project: Yes Yes
Changes that may cause unintentional data loss or data corruption are reviewed by an administrator: No Yes
Snapshots of data dictionary are logged before and after a change: No Yes
Changes require entering Draft Mode: No Yes

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Moving your project to Production ensures you're maintaining data accuracy and integrity. The Production change control process provides an additional check to ensure that data which has already been collected is not deleted, re-coded or overwritten unintentionally.

All survey and data entry features and functions will be exactly the same as they are in Development, with the exception of certain Project Setup features. SMPH REDCap allows users with Project Design and Setup rights to modify and create fields and instruments in Production. However, changes involving creation or modification of events in a longitudinal project, or the assignment of instruments to an event must be made by a REDCap administrator.

The 'Move project to production' button can be found in the Project Setup tab.

Screenshot shows Move to Production selection
Under Project Setup select "Move project to production"

To make changes to a project in Production status, you must first enter Draft Mode and then submit the changes to a REDCap administrator for review before they are implemented. In Production status, REDCap automatically logs copies of the data dictionary before and after you make changes to the project.

SMPH REDCap administrators will periodically review projects that have had no activity for 2 or more years. Project owners may be contacted with a recommendation to archive these projects.

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Draft Mode

While not an official status in REDCap, Draft Mode allows you to make changes to a Production project in SMPH REDCap. When you want to make changes to a Production project, you will first need to enter Draft Mode. You will then be able to make changes as you would have in Development mode. When you have made all of the changes you would like, you will submit the changes for review to a REDCap administrator. We will review that your changes do not corrupt or delete existing data in your project, that identifiers are appropriately marked, and ensure that all mobile users have synced the project before the change is put into effect.

A REDCap administrator will review your drafted changes within two business days. If there are changes that may negatively impact your existing data, we will confirm the impact of the changes before they are committed to the project. While your project is in Draft Mode and your drafted changes are under review, your (unchanged) project remains live and data collection can continue.

Entering Draft Mode: When you access the Online Designer for a project in Production, REDCap will ask you to enter draft mode before you will be able to make any changes:

Screenshot shows Enter Draft Mode Selection
Select "Enter Draft Mode"

Once you have made all of the change you would like to submit, you can review your drafted changes or click the button to submit them:

Screenshot shows Submit Changes for Review selection
Once changes have been made, review your changes with "View detailed summary of all drafted changes, then submit the changes for review

If you are making extensive changes, or changes that may impact your data, it is helpful to review the changes before submitting them. Reviewing the REDCap summary of drafted changes will tell you if there are any changes that will potentially negatively impact your data. This is the same tool a REDCap administrator will use to determine if your changes are okay to commit. Look to see if REDCap has flagged any "Potentially Critical Issues".

Screenshot shows Draft Changes as described above
Check for any potentially critical issues before submitting your changes for review

Once approved, your changes will be implemented and you will exit Draft Mode. Continue using Draft Mode throughout your project when changes are needed.

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Move the project to Analysis/Cleanup status if data collection is complete. This will disable most project functionality, although all collected data will remain intact. Once in Analysis/Cleanup status, the project can be moved back to Production status at any time.

When a project is in Analysis/Cleanup, it is assumed that formal data collection has ended, except for cleaning and analyzing the data already collected. Many features are disabled, such as surveys, Alerts & Notifications, Automated Survey Invitations, and other features typically used during data collection. Also, no new records can be created while in this status.

You can move your project to Analysis/Cleanup status under the 'Other Functionality' tab.

(NOTE: Projects in Development cannot be moved to Analysis/Cleanup since there should be no need to clean or analyze the test data that was entered. Their next status in the life cycle is Complete.)

Screenshot demonstrates the process described above
After project completion, move your project to Analysis/Cleanup status

Modify data locking mode

While the project is in Analysis/Cleanup status, you may set the data in the project to be either:

1) Editable (existing records only), or

2) Read-only/Locked. If set to Read-only/Locked mode, then no data in the project will be able to be modified in any way.

When in Analysis/Cleanup there is an option to allow editing or to lock all records from being edited 

Projects in the older Archived status were originally located in an Archive folder at the bottom of the My Projects page. This Archive folder is renamed to “My Hidden Projects" folder. Projects with Archive status which were previously in this folder are updated to have a status of Analysis/Cleanup. A user can move these projects out of the “My Hidden Projects" folder in the usual way by going to the Organize button at the top of the My Projects page and reallocating them to a chosen folder. Inactive projects will also be updated to the Analysis/Cleanup status.

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If you are finished with a project, sure that no one needs to access it anymore, but you want to ensure that the project and its data remain intact, it can be marked as Completed. A Completed project can only be accessed by a REDCap administrator and only they can change its status back to Analysis/Cleanup. You can mark your project as Completed under the 'Other Functionality' tab.

Marking a project as Completed takes it offline and hides it from everyone's project list. It can only be seen again by clicking the small Show Completed Projects link at the very bottom of the My Projects page. Clicking this link will make your completed projects appear in the same project folders that they were originally allocated to.

Screenshot shows a project marked as completed
Once analysis is complete, projects should be marked as "Completed" which will display in your completed projects list

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Deleting a Project

For projects that are not in Production (for instance, copies of projects for testing, or practice projects), when you no longer need the project, it should be deleted. Deleting a project will permanently remove it from REDCap, along with any data collected in the project.

To delete a project, go to the "Other Functionality" tab and scroll down to the "Request delete Project" button. If needed, you can cancel your request quickly if you mistakenly selected this button.

Screenshot demonstrates requesting a project's deletion

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KeywordsREDCap, Development, Production, Archive, Archival, Project Management, Inactive   Doc ID96797
OwnerAmy S.GroupSMPH Research Informatics
Created2019-12-26 13:01:58Updated2024-04-02 07:52:23
SitesInstitute for Clinical and Translational Research, SMPH Research Informatics , SMPH Research Informatics TEST
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