Overview

Castellum is a subject database system developed at the Max Planck Society. Its main goals are:

  • GDPR compliant data protection and security

  • Flexibility so it can be used in different organisations

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Features

Subject management

Castellum is a central place to collect references to all data related to a subject, e.g. so it can be deleted on request.

Pseudonym service

Contact details are stored in Castellum so all other databases can work with pseudonyms instead.

Recruitment

Castellum allows you to find potential participants from an existing pool using study specific filters.

Appointments

You can manage appointments for test sessions.

What Castellum is not

Castellum itself is not meant to store any scientific data. It only stores information about which studies a subject has participated in as well as the corresponding pseudonyms.

Note

There are only two notable exceptions to this rule: Study participations and recruitment attributes both contain traces of research data, but are required for the recruitment process.

Which features get integrated?

We often found it difficult to decide on levels of integration. Therefore, we want to provide some guidelines for future developers that should be considered before adding a new feature to Castellum:

  • Can the feature be decoupled from communication with subjects? For example we decided to integrate recruitment because it cannot be decoupled.

  • Would the new feature introduce different staff members (user groups) who would use Castellum only for this reason? For example, we decided against integrating a public relations view on current studies as it would have introduced staff members who otherwise have nothing to do with subject data.

  • Are there well established processes or tools that do not need to be replaced? Examples might include calendars or room management.

  • Are there established protocols to interface with the existing services instead of reimplementing them? For example, Castellum supports authentication via a central LDAP service.

  • Is it acceptable for users to integrate with external processes manually? For example, a pseudonym generated by Castellum would usually be entered into a MRI device by hand.

  • Is the feature preventing us from addressing the various needs of different research institutes?

Rather than applying these questions as strict rules we try to balance them within the process of reaching a decision.