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No-cost statistical software initiative a success

160 percent more students, faculty, staff are using statistical software now available at no cost

News and events Oct 9, 2023

Just over a year ago, Indiana University Vice President for Information Technology and CIO Rob Lowden announced certain commonly used statistical, mathematical, and qualitative analysis software would become available for IU students, staff, and faculty to install at no additional cost. The initiative which covers licensing costs for this large set of software applications was unique within Big Ten universities.

With the barrier of entry lowered, these programs have seen a 160 percent increase in users. In fiscal year 2022, these programs had under 5,000 users compared to over 13,000 in fiscal year 2023. “We are all happy to have secured central funding for these software packages,” said Jefferson Davis, a senior tech lead with UITS Research Applications and Deep Learning. “Now our users no longer go through with the purchasing system themselves to access the software, streamlining the whole process.”

Programs include:

  • MATLAB, which allows for matrix manipulations, plotting of functions and data, and interfacing with programs written in other languages
  • NVivo, which helps users organize and analyze non-numerical or unstructured data
  • SPSS, a statistical software suite developed by IBM for data management, advanced analytics, multivariate analysis, business intelligence, and criminal investigation

Image of Jefferson Davis Jefferson Davis, senior tech lead with UITS Research Applications and Deep Learning

“Our researchers have used tools like SPSS, NVivo, and MATLAB for years, producing world-class research. Faculty have taught thousands of students with help from these tools. With this track record, we are extremely confident making this commitment and shortening the process of getting the tools in our users’ hands.” Davis said.

“My goal in every course I design is to make the experience relevant beyond the topic of the class,” Regina Smyth, an IU professor of political science, said. “I want to send students to job market with the skills to think about and solve real-world problems and understand rapidly changing issues, and the tools to collect and analyze data to engage in fact-based analysis. This combination of skills elevates the relevance of a liberal arts education in a world of complexity and information overload. Having tools that are common in policy analysis, think tanks and research positions, such as NVIVO, available to our students is critically important to this hands-on teaching methods.”

UITS Research Applications and Deep Learning also makes software available for use in the Student Technology Centers at IU Bloomington and IUPUI, on IU’s research supercomputers, and via IUanyWare.

Find the full list of statistical and mathematical software available to the IU community in this Knowledge Base document.

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