Frequently Asked Questions

What is MyResearch?

The purpose of MyResearch is to provide UCSF research teams with a professionally managed, secure, web based, collaborative environment in which to store files containing sensitive data. It provides application and data base services that allow investigators to view, manipulate, and save their data entirely in this protected environment without requiring files to be stored on their own computers. It also provides access to applications they might not be on your local desktop such as SAS, STATA, and SPSS. In addition, a file upload capability enables you to upload even large files in a matter of minutes.

How does MyResearch work?

MyResearch works via a remote display capability. Data files and applications, such as Excel or SAS, reside on our secure servers. When you start an application, it runs on our servers, but it is displayed on your local monitor. It looks and feels as if it is running on your own computer, but it isn’t. This provides great security because files containing sensitive data never leave our data center, yet you can use familiar tools to manipulate and analyze that data as if it resided on your own computer.

Who can use MyResearch?

MyResearch is available to all UCSF faculty and staff and to non-UCSF collaborators who are working with a member of the UCSF community.

Will I need a new login and password for MyResearch?

At this time authentication is done through the UCSF Campus Active Directory (AD) domain. Users with accounts in this domain will use the same credentials to login to MyResearch as they do to login into their desktop systems and their email. UCSF faculty and staff with accounts in other AD domains such as the Medical Center or the School of Medicine will be provided with accounts in the Campus domain. Non-UCSF collaborators will be provided with accounts that are specific to MyResearch.

How can I sign up for this service?

To sign up, contact the Help Desk at 514-4100. The Help Desk is available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Or fill out an online application at

What support will be provided?

Support personnel are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time. There is a phone, e-mail and web based ticketing system to track all issues. The data center is supported 24/7.

What security measures will be in place?

MyResearch is hosted at the San Diego SuperComputer Center at the University of California San Diego. The SuperComputer Center is housed in a locked and guarded data center staffed at all hours (24 X 7). Entrance to the data center requires users to pass biometric scans and to enter personal codes. Physical access to the MyResearch servers requires additional codes. The MyResearch servers are guarded by multiple firewall and intrusion detection systems. All electronic connections to the MyResearch environment are encrypted.

How will data be backed up?

All your MyResearch data on the shared drive is synched to our San Diego SuperComputer center nightly, and all your MyResearch data in Sharepoint is backup up in UCSF nightly. In the future, all the data will be backed up at UCSF.

Can I access my data 24/7?

Yes, the servers are available 24/7, How much will the service cost? Currently, the service will be provided free of charge.

How much space is available?

In general there is sufficient space to handle typical researcher requirements. Large file requirements will be handled on a case by case basis. Current storage capacity exceeds 30 Terabytes.

How many studies can I have?

There is no limit to the number of studies you can have.

Will my data be purged?

There are no plans to purge data from the site.

Will my data be examined for HIPAA compliance?

No, this service provides a safe storage facility for your data. You are responsible for complying with data security regulations.

From where can I access my data?

Your data can be accessed from any PC or Mac connected to the Internet. Access will require use of the login credentials associated with your account.

How will my data get transferred to the MyResearch environment?

Data is uploaded to MyResearch using the Secure File Transfer Protocol (sFTP). Once logged into MyResearch, users click on the File Transfer Tool link, and a pre-configured sFTP tool is started. Files can be dragged and dropped from the local desktop to the remote MyResearch storage. Users can also use other tools that support sFTP, such as SSH and FileZilla.

Can I take data out of MyResearch?

Yes, data can be transferred to your local encrypted device. However, it is highly recommended that all work be done on the secure desktop. As of February, 2009, maximum fines are $1.5 million (Federal) and $250,000 (State) for malicious or negligent use of PHI data. California law allows fines to be levied against individuals in addition to those levied against institutions, and several such incidents have already occurred.

How will you insure that no one else gets access to my data?

Only you or the collaborators you designate will have access to your files. To ensure the security of MyResearch, you must never share your login or password with anyone else.

How is data accessed?

Data is accessed a familiar manner. Files can be viewed directly via the Windows Explorer file manager, or they can be loaded by an application such as MS Excel or SAS, or files can be managed in a somewhat more sophisticated manner using a document management system. Currently, that system is Microsoft SharePoint, but we are investigating the possibility of using an alternative document management application.

Which browser can I use?

MyResearch runs under a variety of browsers including Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari.

How will I print necessary documents?

When you print a document in MyResearch, it will be converted to a PDF file and displayed in a tab in the browser you used to connect to MyResearch. From there, you can print it to any printer you have access to from your desktop.

What is the relationship between MyResearch and the Integrated Data Repository?

The Integrated Data Repository (IDR) is housed within the MyResearch environment. The IDR is a research data warehouse containing large amounts of de-identified patient data drawn from the clinical systems at UCSF. The user interface to the IDR is called the Cohort Selection Tool, and it is one of the applications available in MyResearch. Users can use the Cohort Selection tool to define a de-identified cohort of interest for their research. Upon validation of the appropriate CHR protocol, ARS staff will provide the identified version of the cohort to the user by depositing the identified data file in a user’s MyResearch account.

What software will I need on my computer to use MyResearch?

On a PC you will need Windows XP or later (Vista, Win7), Internet Explorer 6 or later, Firefox 2 or later, and Java 1.5 or later. On a Mac, you will need Mac OS 10.5 or later (Leopard), Safari or Firefox 2.0 or later, and Java 1.5 or later.

Does MyResearch work on smart phones or iPads?

Not at this time. MyResearch requires Java support to run on a device, and Apple does not currently support Java on the iPhone or the iPad. MyResearch also requires a small piece of client software, which is auto-installed, to run on any device. Currently, Oracle, which makes the Secure Global Desktop software we use to implement MyResearch, only provides the client software for Windows, Mac, and Linux desktops and laptops.

Where can I find out more about SharePoint?

You can read more about SharePoint at SharePoint Overview.