Introducing BRICS

BRICS is a software system for data sharing that houses clinical research data through dynamic modules.

The customizable bioinformatics system designed to accelerate your research.

BRICS is a collaborative and extensible web-based system to support the collection of research studies and clinical trials, using a set of modular components that cover all stages of the research life cycle. And because BRICS is un-branded and un-associated with a particular disease or organization, it can be customized to meet your research objectives. This web-based application is 21 CRF Part 11 compliant, secure, and intuitive to use. In addition, users with programming expertise can use an application programming interface (API) for more dynamic data import and export.

A system for data sharing and collaboration.

Building on concepts originally developed for the National Database for Autism Research (NDAR), BRICS began as a joint effort between the Department of Defense (DOD),  Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)/National Institutes of Health (NIH): National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), and the Center for Information Technology (CIT). Since then, it has continued to evolve over a rich 10-year history, through collaborations with partners like the Parkinson’s Disease Biomarkers Program (PDBP) and the Federal Interagency Traumatic Brain Injury Research (FITBIR).


Plug and play components for the entire research life cycle.

BRICS offers researchers a secure platform and a suite of tools to promote standardization, communication, and collaboration across the research community and a data repository to hold genetic, phenotypic, clinical, and medical imaging data. These plug-and-play modules can be shared across disease categories or deployed and branded independently, depending on the needs of your program. Together, they provide a combination of web-based functionality and downloadable tools that support data definition, data contribution, and data access throughout the research life cycle:

Data Mapping Tool

The Data Dictionary provides functionality for creating, managing, and searching data dictionary components (data elements and form structures), as well as services for validating research data against the standardized common data elements (CDEs). 

Launch Mapping Tool


Data Dictionary: Data Elements, eFORMS, Form Structures

A well-designed, intelligent clinical research data dictionary created in close collaboration with NINDS CDE project, NIH CDE repository, CDISC, LOINC, FHIR and other controlled vocabularies/terminologies.

BRICS data dictionary is equipped with terminology and services which enable any BRICS system to comply with diverse vocabulary standards and exchange of clinical research data, received in all of its various formats and terminologies from diverse systems and sources. When embedded into an informatics system infrastructure, BRICS dictionary helps promoting FAIR principles and allows to:

  • Support standardization of clinical research data across various projects by incorporating standard controlled vocabularies;
  • Describe clinical research data in a structured way and remove ambiguities;
  • Enable users to effectively find, query, and report data;
  • Support exchange and comparison of research data between independent informatics systems.


Data Repository: Study Management, Data Validation and Submission

The Data Repository is the central hub of the BRICS system, providing functionality for defining and managing study information, and for contributing, uploading, and storing the research data associated with each study.

In the pursuit of making information discoverable for the research communities that the BRICS system serves, the following attributes have been incorporated into the Data Repository.

  1. ORCID identifier (ORCID iD) is a unique, personal, persistent identifier for researchers that distinguishes them from every other researcher. The BRICS system allows a researcher to include their ORCID iD.
  2. The Office of Science and Technical Information (OSTI) maintains a ** DOI ** minting service called the "DOE Data ID Service." Each BRICS study, using the OSTI DOI minting service (DataCite) can create a unique DOI.

In addition, the BRICS system has implemented the DAta Tag Suite (DATS) model to support the DataMed data discovery index with the goal to be for data what PubMed has been for the scientific literature.


Meta Study

A Meta Study contains findings from other studies that can be aggregated by researchers to conduct additional analysis. The information within the Meta Study can be referenced in publications.

Similar to Data Repository, all Meta Studies have attributes to include ORCID id’s and DOIs.


GUID: Global Unique Identifier

The GUID is a Global Unique Identifier for each study participant that allows researchers to aggregate and share a participant’s data without exposing personally identifiable information (PII). The GUID is made up of random alpha-numeric characters and is not generated from PII/PHI.      

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke (NINDS), in conjunction with the National Institute of Aging (NIA) and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, and the Common Data Repository for Nursing Science (cdRNS) and Parkinson’s Disease Biomarkers Program (PDBP), have successfully collaborated to develop a Multi-Tenant ‘Global Unique Identifier’ (GUID) solution for participant sharing across institutes and studies, known as the NINDS Centralized GUID solution.

1. Management of study participants through the generation of a secure, random alphanumeric identifier (GUID)
2. Mapping of study participants to study data for more efficient/comprehensive analysis
3. Visibility to matching study participants/GUIDs across institutes and studies
4. Collaboration amongst researchers to share study data (offline) about participants

GUID Process Video

Centralized GUID Diagram

ProFoRMS: Protocol Management and Data Capture

With this clinical trial/research module, researchers can define electronic case report forms, schedule and collect clinical data, and then export, analyze, and report on the data. This module has been developed in collaboration with CNRM Informatics Core and is based on NICHD’s Clinical Trail Database (CTDB). 

Through the PROMIS API, BRICS provides access to an established state-of-the-art assessment system for self-reported health. Incorporating the PROMIS custom utility for computer adaptive tests allows researchers to access dynamic data collection using external data structures that seamlessly integrates into the BRICS common semantic model.

BRICS is 21 CFR Part 11  certified and subsequently, electronic records and electronic signatures within BRICS are considered trustworthy, reliable, and equivalent to paper records.

The 21 CFR Part 11 system documentation zip icon contains the following documents: System Design Document, E-Signature Security Policy, Master Test Plan, Report on 21 CFR Part 11 Compliance, Software Development Process, System Requirements Specification, System Access Logs and User Guidelines.

FHIR connectivity is supported.


Query   and Export Data

The Query Tool provides access to harmonized data submitted by researchers. The efficiency of the application sifts through data by filtering on data elements and form structures. Moreover, Boolean operators (AND, NOT, OR), specificity (inclusive and exclusive), and joins across multiple form structures provide additional data exploration. The Query Tool API is an extension of the capabilities of this powerful tool which allows users to access data (JSON or CSV format) using their preferred IDE, such a Jupyter notebooks, and programming languages such as R and Python.

Query User Guide
BRICS API User Guide
API Scripts (Zipped)

BRICS API UserGuide Notebook File (Zipped)

FITBIR GOSE Notebook File (Zipped)


MIPAV Imaging Data Submission Tool

The MIPAV (Medical Image Processing, Analysis, and Visualization) application enables quantitative analysis and viewing of medical images, such as PET, MRI, CT, or microscopy. A MIPAV plugin is used to package and submit image data of many formats (i.e. DICOM, NIFTI, Analyze, AFNI and many others) into BRICS. "Focusing on open source components, MIPAV is the best candidate for 3D imaging as well as DICOM communication" View MIPAV Application.


Account Management

This is the application for creating, approving, and managing user accounts, including management of access controls, roles, permissions groups, and authorization to other BRICS modules.






Supporting a vision of interconnectivity and collaboration in research.

BRICS is much more than a set of software tools. It’s a community of researchers, industry professionals, and support teams working together to further research in health sciences.

The research community.

BRICS forms the foundation for a number of biomedical informatics platforms and data repositories within the NIH, the extramural research community, and the Department of Defense. With each new partnership, the system becomes more refined, and the wealth of sharable data grows. Programs that use BRICS become part of something greater than an individual study or clinical trial – they contribute to a vast network of shared data, knowledge, and resources.

The support team.

By becoming a BRICS partner, you gain access to well structured technical and operations teams with a proven track record supporting data acquisition, translation, sharing, discovery and analysis. Their services demonstrate the customizability and flexibility of the system:

  • Fully hosted or independently managed solutions
  • Operations team support or self-directed service and support
  • Private, shared, or hybrid selection of platform modules
  • Custom development service or shared enhancements to the platform
  • Dedicated, shared, or independently managed staff

BRICS offers researchers a secure platform (FISMA Moderate and 21 CFR Part 11) and a suite of tools that can be shared across disease categories, or deployed and branded independently.
BRICS is a community of researchers, industry professionals, and support teams working together to further research in health sciences.