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Research Data Management: Data Analysis & Visualization

Guide on research data management, with resources and tools for data planning, data organization, data documentation, data sharing, data security, data analysis and visualization

Free Analysis Tools

Updated: Jun 4, 2013

• Sage

"Sage is a free open-source mathematics software system licensed under the GPL. It combines the power of many existing open-source packages into a common Python-based interface.
Mission: Creating a viable free open source alternative to Magma, Maple, Mathematica and Matlab."

Installation required, free download. Size is huge (~1.3G). Relatively easy for Python users. Integrating with various popular math systems and modules in commercial math toolkits. Documentation, tutorial, quickstart, FAQ available.

• Dataplot

"Dataplot is a free, public-domain, multi-platform (Unix, VMS, Linux, Windows 95/98/ME/XP/NT/2000, etc.) software system for scientific visualization, statistical analysis, and non-linear modeling."

Free download. Require local installation. Tutorials, documentations, FAQs, and quick reference (pdf) available.

• MacAnova

"MacAnova is a free, open source, interactive statistical analysis program for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux written by Gary W. Oehlert and Christopher Bingham, both of the School of Statistics, University of Minnesota. In spite of its name, MacAnova is not just for Macintosh computers and not just for doing Analysis of Variance."

Free download. Requires local installation. Its strengths are analysis of variance and related models, matrix algebra, time series analysis (time and frequency domain), and (to a lesser extent) uni- and multi-variate exploratory statistics. R-like syntax. Documentation available.

• VassarStats

"A useful and user-friendly tool for performing statistical computation."

Free to use, web-based tool, no installation required. The best web browsers for using this site are Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. Together with the online toolkit there is a textbook companion site: Concepts & Applications of Inferential Statistics.

• BrightStat

"Basic analyses including many non-parametric tests."

Free to use, web-based tool. Account needed, free registration. Video tutorials, FAQs, and reference available.


"SISA allows you to do statistical analysis directly on the Internet. Click on one of the procedure names below, fill in the form, click the button, and the analysis will take place on the spot."

Free to use, web-based tool. Simple and easy to use interface. Relatively comprehensive collection of statistic procedures. Guide to procedures available.

• Statistician (Lite)

"Statistician offers users the ability to perform high quality statistical analysis of data through a number of easy to use and intuitive forms activated from the Excel ribbon. Statistician is not just another handy collection of additional Excel functions. Rather, Statistician works like a professional statistical package with its ability to define, store and analyze Data Variables."

Excel addon. Free download. Requires installation. User manual (pdf) and quick start guide (pdf) available.

Free Visualization Tools

• NodeXL

"NodeXL (documentation) is a free, open-source template for Microsoft® Excel® 2007 and 2010 that makes it easy to explore network graphs. With NodeXL, you can enter a network edge list in a worksheet, click a button and see your graph, all in the familiar environment of the Excel window."

Excel plugin, free download. Free to use. Simple and easy to use. Sample (not limited to) graph:


• Gephi

"Gephi (quick start, screenshots, learn) is an interactive visualization and exploration platform for all kinds of networks and complex systems, dynamic and hierarchical graphs."

Standalone app, requires installation, free download. Free to use. Needs some time to learn how to use. Sample (not limited to) graph:


• tableau public

tableau public (gallery, guidebook, video tutorial) can convert spreadsheets into graphs, tables and maps which can be displayed on blogs or websites. Work best with numerical data. Data need to be hosted remotely on Tableau servers. Any updates in data will immediately changes the display wherever it's embedded.

Requires installation, free download. Sample (not limited to) graph:


• Many Eyes

"Many Eyes (quick start, FAQ) is a web-based visualisation tool developed and provided by IBM Research and IBM Cognos sofware group. Users can use existing data or upload their own."

No installation, account required, free registration. Sample (not limited to) graph:


• Crowdmap

Crowdmap (FAQ) is a web-based tool that allows you to collect information from cellphones, tweets and blogs, aggregate that information into a single platform, and visualise it on a map and timeline. It's a Ushahidi platform that helps people understand a lot of information in a short amount of time.

No installation, account required, free registration. Sample (not limited to) graph:


• OpenRefine

"OpenRefine (wiki, documentation, FAQ) is a power tool that allows you to load data, understand it, clean it up, reconcile it internally, and augment it with data coming from Freebase or other web sources. All with the comfort and privacy of your own computer."

Requires local installation as web service. Access via browser at

(Reference: Research analysis and curation tools from University of Queensland.)

Quick access to

Research guide on research data sets

Research and publishing support

Research grants

Institutional knowledge (Ink) at SMU

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