New website connects researchers with data experts, resources

The online portal provides researchers with fast access to tools, data platforms, health-related databases and data-science experts.

- By Kris Newby

The newly launched Stanford Data Science Resources website is a central portal from which data scientists can access advanced tools, data platforms and experts in diverse methodologies for conducting biomedical research. 

At the heart of this website is a consultation-request form that quickly connects researchers with the experts, advice and resources needed for a given project. Requestors may submit a research question, a data need or a query on study design or methodology, and each will be matched with the appropriate Stanford research support team. 

Experts are available from the Center for Population Health Sciences, Department of Biomedical Data Science, Research Informatics Center, Research Information Technologies group and Quantitative Sciences Unit. These specialists can provide advice in a variety of areas, including general project support, biostatistics, informatics, mobile technologies and research information technologies. The portal also provides researchers with an organized starting point for selecting secure electronic data capture applications and research management platforms. 

On the data sets page, there are details on clinical information stored in the Stanford Research Repository, called STARR.

There’s also an overview of population-level data sets, which can help Stanford researchers analyze factors such as poverty, inequality, climate change and forced migration on health and well-being. These data sources include the following:

  • IBM MarketScan Research Database, which has person-specific clinical expenditures segmented into inpatient, outpatient, prescription drug and service categories for more than 150 million people.
  • Optum Clinformatics Data Mart, which stores administrative health claims for more than 72 million members of a large, national managed-care company affiliated with Optum. 
  • The Health Inequality Project, which has data on the differences in life expectancy categorized by income, and identifies strategies to improve health outcomes for low-income Americans.
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which allows researchers to evaluate geographic variations in the use and quality of health care services for the Medicare fee-for-service population in a 20 percent sample of the national Medicare population.
  • The Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, which stores individual and household census records and which is a good source for research on social and economic changes.
  • The “Born in Bradford” cohort study, which has data on 12,500 pregnant women from 2007 to 2010 and subsequent data on 13,500 offspring, all from a resource-poor town in the United Kingdom. 


The website design team is soliciting feedback on how to improve the website. Please send any suggestions to Stacyann Forrester at sforrest@stanford.edu. The development of this web portal was funded by a National Institutes of Health Clinical and Translational Science Award and the School of Medicine Dean’s Office. 

About Stanford Medicine

Stanford Medicine is an integrated academic health system comprising the Stanford School of Medicine and adult and pediatric health care delivery systems. Together, they harness the full potential of biomedicine through collaborative research, education and clinical care for patients. For more information, please visit med.stanford.edu.