News, or what have you done lately?


LibreClinica v.1.0 released

The release of LibreClinica is official! This is the successor of OpenClinica and on this page we explain the why and the how of software and especially why we are so happy with it.



setting defaults using java-script

On this page we explain how you can set defaults in your grid, or repeating-item-group. As an extra we also make the values read-only and set the width. And as a final touch we take out the remove-icons.



adding row-numbers in a repeating item group

On this page we explain how you can get a row-number in your grid, or repeating-item-group. Simple, but effective.



tomcat 6 & 7

Sometimes you are running trials in older versions of OpenClinica and then a new trial must be started. But this time you want to use the latest version of OpenClinica so this means you must install tomcat7. On this page you can find instructions on how to do just that.



workshop java-script

On the OC15 this summer in Amsterdam we held a workshop about java-script and all the fun things you can do with it when you combine it with OpenClinica. For those of you who attended the workshop and for those of you who could not be there: everything that was discussed can be found on these pages, including many examples and even more explanations.



deselecting radio-buttons in a group

Thomas Kissner showed us a way to place deselect-buttons in a group. Together we came up with the script that you can see on this page, including screenshots and of course a full explanation.



script to run a rule

Not everyone knows that you can use a script to execute a Rule. Or even all Rules for a CRF! On this page you can find the how's and why's with lots of colorful screenshots, so you can schedule the execution of your Rules.



transformation to SAS

Transforming data from XML to SAS has always been difficult. Luckily for us, Linas Silvas created some .xsl files to do the job. You can find them on this page, including an easy-to-use-script.



showing items from other Events

With the release of OpenClinica 3.4, we have a whole new bunch of data to use in our CRFs: all data from other Events! Read this page and your OpenClinica-world will never be the same.



OC 3.4

On this page you can find instructions on how to testdrive the new OpenClinica version 3.4. Testing it before you decide on installing or not is a good idea: if you're happy with how your OpenClinica is performing right now and you have no plans for a new Study in the near future, you may well decide to stay with your current release. If you can not wait to use the StudySubjectOID, go and upgrade.



ShowAction for a Group

This page show you how extremely easy it is to write a Rule-file using the ShowAction that will display a RepeatingItemsGroup. Read all about the secrets of the DestinationProperty.



OC 3.3

On this page you can find instructions on how to testdrive the new OpenClinica version 3.3. Testing it before you decide on installing or not is a good idea: if you're happy with how your OpenClinica is performing right now and you have no plans for a new Study in the near future, you may well decide to stay with your current release. If however you were desperately looking forward to schedule Events automatically: this is your day!



who did what in your Study?

On this page you can find an updated version of our datalisting utility that works with OC3.2 and higher. And as an extra, you can get a report per dataentry-person what he or she did in a given period, which can streamline your monitoring process.



SPSS-syntax for check-boxes

Getting your data into SPPS is (kind of) easy, as we discussed earlier, but a check-box-item may cause some problems. On this page we discuss how to write SPSS-syntax for that and there's a link to a utility that generates it. (And the utility can use REST!)



difference in time fields

We've had a page about time fields for a long time. It shows how you can set the format and is enough if you want to compare times, i.e. is time A before time B. Things get complicated when you want to know the difference between two time-fields. And very complicated when those time fields are in a repeating-item-group. But on this page you can find two examples plus an explanation of how they work.



OpenClinica 3.2

A completely new version has been released! But exactly how new? And should I install it? Can I test it first? Read the answers to these question on this page.



the Event-date in your CRF

If you want to use the Event-date in a Validation, you can use java-script to copy it from the CRF-header. It's very straight-forward and with the instructions on our how-to-page you will be able to make some great Validations.



checking your StudySubjectID's with a regular expression

You can not check the format of the StudySubjectID's at creation, but they can be checked after, for example when you enter data in the first CRF. With just a bit of javascript we will copy the ID to a read-only CRF-item and on that item we can apply a regular expression. Go to our how-to-page to see how.



from OpenClinica to SPSS

Getting your data into SPSS is probably something of which you think "we'll cross that bridge when we come to it", but it is a good thing to practice it already a bit in the designing phase of your Study. On our how-to-page we show you, with many many screenshots, how you can do it plus some caveats and tips.



the number of days between two dates

Calculating the number of days between two dates is not so easy. Especially when you use i18n-files. But it can be done: this how-to-page tells you all you need to know.



testing openclinica 3.1.4

Setting up a test environment for OpenClinica 3.1.4, based on your current production-instance, should not take you more than an hour. Read our latest how-to-page and evaluate if oc314 is the thing for you to install.




With the release of OpenClinica 3.1.4 we thought it was a perfect moment to redesign our utility for translating the properties-files. On this page you can read all about it, including our cool tool to generate unicode.



a link to ICD 10

Because of the way the ICD10 site is built, it is quite easy to make a reference to a specific term. On our latest page we use this to make a CRF with a link to the term entered.



deselecting radiobuttons

Radio-buttons are nice little things and SimpleConditionalDisplay is a great feature, but the combination of those two does not always work out right. Put in other words: sometimes you want to deselect a radio-button. Read here how to do that.



capacity testing

If you would like to know if your OpenClinica configuration is up to the task once thousands of Subjects have been enrolled, read this how-to-page. In it we describe how, with the use of an MsAccess-utility and web-services, you can populate your Study with real data.



a visual analogue scale (VAS)

In this how-to-page we describe, with a lot of screen-shots, how to make your own visual analogue scale or VAS. Two examples are given: one which can be implemented on any OpenClinica installation and one that uses extra images. And of course all is explained in detail



aligning two columns

Having trouble aligning items in two columns? In this how-to-page we describe, with a lot of screen-shots, how to make your life easier, as far as columns are concerned.



different CRF versions for different Sites

Most of the time when working with OpenClinica we use CRF-versions when we change something about a CRF. And throughout the Study we generally use the same CRF-version. But it can be handy in some situations to have different versions of a CRF for different Sites. In this how-to-page we describe, with a lot of screen-shots, how to do this.



test 3.1.3 first

30 November 2012 the release of OpenClinica 3.1.3 was announced. It's always a good idea to look before you leap, so we composed this how-to-page with 8 simple steps to setup a 3.1.3 copy of your production instance. So you can take your time evaluating this new version, before upgrading.



your database as a picture

For those of us who want to see every detail this how-to-page shows the result of SchemaSpy: an OpenSource-utility to make a graphical representation of the OpenClinica database.




There is no such thing as a Time-field in OpenClinica. We already saw a way to make one by using a regular expression in combination with an ST field. But this has the disadvantage that you can not compare text-fields, so you can not make a Validation such as "Time B must be after Time A." In this how-to-page we demonstrate a regular expression on a REAL field.
But what about "Time B must be two and a half hours later than Time A": can we do that? Yes, this can be done, but with some java-scripting.



changing the layout of a CRF

We already had a way of modifying the stylesheet-element, but for some this was a bit too much, so we made this how-to-page to show you an alternative and easier way to get exactly the same end-result.



a backup-script to crontab

Is your backup plan in order? Are you running a backup-script with crontab every night? Or is this somewhere at the lower end of your priority-list? On our updated how-to-page we show you a starting point for a script to make nicely organised backups.



all your work on paper

In our latest how-to-page we show you an MsAccess-utility with which you can make a print of all items. The layout is a bit rough: just one long list, even for repeating-item-groups. But if you need something on paper asap: this is your tool.



creating subjects and scheduling events with web-services

In our latest how-to-page we describe how you can create (a lot) of Subjects by using web-services. And also how you can schedule Events for them, all done using web-services. Difficult? Not at all.



yet another place to put instructions in

If you want to add extra instructions in your CRF but still have it clean and tidy, have a look at this how-to-page on how to use the Tip-function for that.



have a preview of the future of OC

Maybe you already read about what direction the OC-team wants to go: configurable user-privileges and coding using MedRA are among the new goodies.
This is all part of Aquamarine and you can have a look at that if you can spare 15 minutes and follow the instructions on this how-to-page.



setting default values in a repeating group

Often we design CRFs with items in a repeating items, where we want to set defaults. Think of table with scan results for several areas, that all must be completed.
How you can create just such a CRF is explained on this how-to-page where we use a combination of the ShowAction and the InsertAction.



transferring data to a new CRF version

We all have experienced, or we will very soon, the situation where an extra item is added to a CRF that has been in use for some time. And the Study-coordinator has told dataentry they should enter all these extra answers. But you must use a new version for your CRF and retyping all the existing data is not an option.
On this how-to-page we show you:
1. how to export the existing data
2. make a new CRF version and delete the existing one
3. edit the exported data so that they can be imported into the new CRF version



setting the width of an input

Wouldn't you love to change the width of your inputs? And not one size fits all, but different sizes? On this new how-to-page we show you how it's done: add a little Java-script to your CRF and you're good to go.



displaying an item using a rule

This new how-to-page shows you how to display an item in a CRF using a rule. This is totally different from the previous example, where SIMPLE_CONDITIONAL_DISPLAY was used.



a working example of getExternalValue

This new how-to-page shows you how to pick an item of a controlled library and send it to your OpenClinciaForm.



musings on the ct-operator and a multi-option-item

Because the CT-operator is not so well known, but at the same time can be very useful, we decided to dedicate a how-to-page to it. And we combined this with the very handy checkbox RESPONSE_TYPE. To top it of, we discuss an alternative way to define the RESPONSE_VALUES_OR_CALCULATIONS. Have fun.

(25-4-2011) available

The latest update of OpenClinica 3.0 is This version was released on April 7 and you can download it from the OpenClinica-site.
Strangely enough you can't find this in "Features" or in the other documentation, but this release has a fix for bug 7660! You can look up the details, but the bottomline is: install this update.
In short:

  1. make a dump of your postgres-database (just in case)
  2. make a tar of your folder and put it in a safe place (just in case)
  3. copy the OpenClinica.war to a safe place (just in case)
  4. copy to a safe place (absolutely necessary)
  5. undeploy OpenClinica
  6. copy the OpenClinica.war to the webapps-folder
  7. wait until you see in Tomcat-manager that OpenClinica could not start
  8. copy your previous from it's safe place to the original location
  9. in Tomcat-manager start OpenClinica



Using a rule to send a mail

On the latest how-to-page we explore the possibilities of sending an e-mail message, based on input on a CRF. Not so difficult to do, if you follow the steps.


First how-to-page for OC 3.1: conditional display, including a video

On the latest how-to-page you can find instructions on the use of the simple conditional display feature of OC 3.1. Which you can not use yet, because it is still in Beta-test, but it once more shows how easy life can get with OpenClinica. That is to say: datamanagement-life. As an extra we recorded the steps and put a video on Youtube. How 2011 is that?


Tips for setting up a test-environment for OC 3.1. Beta

Follow these six steps and set up a safe test-environment, so you can experiment with the OpenClinica 3.1 Beta.


OpenClinica 3.0.4: install it!

Normally I'm not so very quick with instaling new versions: it's a lot of work and it's not always clear what the benefits are (apart from security-updates, which are done asap). But I would advise everyone to install/upgrade to 3.0.4. The reason being that the interface for testing rules has improved dramatically. Plus you can download the existing rules! Great enhancement, so go for it.


the new OpenClinica: Amthyst

Akaza research has announced that the next version of OpenClinica is available for testing. This version is 3.1 and the name is Amethyst. I've downlaoded the Alpha-test version and I'm quite impressed with it. This version gives users the option to define rules to show or hide items on a CRF. One obvious example is: ask whether the participant is male or female. If female, then ask about pregnancies.
Another feature of this release is that they have made the syntax for rules a bit simpler. You don't have to refer to an item using StudyEvent, FormVersion and GroupID. Instead you can just use the ItemID and the validation will be applied to all occurrences.
They expect this version to be released in October 2010.
The Alpha can be found at: and some examples plus a database can be found at


uploaded CRF for SF-36

On the page with sample CRF's I added one for the SF36.
This is well known ad widely used questionnaire, that takes just a few minutes to complete.


uploaded some sample CRF's

Today I put some examples of CRF's online. One is a sort of dummy CRF, which makes it instantly clear where all the items on your XL-sheet popup in your CRF. It's very straightforward and is meant to get you started with designing your very own OpenClinica-CRF's.
The second one is designed to show you how a calculated field works. This is done with the BMI. Have a look at the screenshot and download the CRF and things will become much clearer.


did the first upload of how-to-pages

Today I started the how-to-pages. On the website of OpenClinica you have this FAQ, which is useful but not very informative. I thought I'd make some nice screenshots, that might help you find your way. I think when you start using OpenClinica the amount of information on screen can be overwhelming. And added to that: most of the functionality can be done in more than one way.
Just to stay on the open-source-side of the track, I installed GIMP as editing tool for the images. That's another steep learning-curve.


installed the latest version of Eclipse

I installed the latest version of Eclipse, Galileo: Eclipse IDE for Java EE Developers epp.package.jee
Eclipse is a widely used tool for writing applications. It's open source software and it's very versatile and reliable.
It was some time since I had a look on the website, and I was in for a nice surprise: Galileo, the Eclipse IDE for Java EE Developers, now comes with integrated Tomcat support. This makes life really easy for me: I can (and do) develop these pages in Eclipse, test and debug them. Then I make a war and deploy it on this website, using the standard Tomcat-manager.


installed OpenClinica 3.0.1 on Debian

For two months I'd been fiddling around with OpenClinica on my trusted laptop and I felt the time had come to take the jump and install it on a server. On my laptop I had Redhat 5 installed, so I started with looking for hosting-companies offering servers with that OS. This turned out to be quite expensive. But surfing along I stumbled on, a company located in Groningen, Holland. They offer a Virtual Private Server with Tomcat installed: the ideal environment for your Java-apps. And access to a Postgres-database. I had to change the installation-script just a tiny bit, mostly due to the fact that I have root-access. But it's up and running now and you're looking at the results.
To anyone interested in setting up OpenClinica with low monthly costs I would recommend this company.



  • libreclinica v.1 released

    → more      27-2-2020

  • defaults in a grid

    → more      9-2-2018

  • an automatic row number

    → more      9-1-2017

  • tomcat6 & 7

    → more      18-8-2015

  • workshop java-script

    → more      12-7-2015

  • de-selecting radio's in a group

    → more      9-12-2014