National Cancer Institute
Behavioral Research - Cancer Control and Population Sciences

GEM - Grid-Enabled Measures Database A Community Site for Researchers

What is GEM?
Grid-Enabled Measures (GEM) is a dynamic web-based database built upon the caBIG® platform (for more information see It contains behavioral and social science measures organized by theoretical constructs. GEM is designed to enable researchers to use common measures with the goal of exchanging harmonized data. Through the use of these standardized measures and common elements, prospective meta-analyses will be possible.

Visit the Beta site Exit Disclaimer

GEM Factsheet (PDF) – March 2012

Why Use GEM?

  • Coordinate the behavioral research enterprise
  • Help build a cumulative base of knowledge
  • Enable more efficient research
  • Facilitate collaboration
  • Advance health information technology
  • Fulfill datasharing requirements

What Are the Benefits of GEM?
GEM allows the user to search for a construct (e.g., anxiety, depression), see a definition of the construct, view its associated theoretical foundation, and download different measures of the construct. Similarly, the user can search for a measure and see attributes of that measure (e.g., definition, target population, author, reliability, validity), including the associated construct.

GEM also allows the user to add new information using Web 2.0 functionality. Based upon a "wiki” platform, users help build the web site by adding and editing measures and constructs, and providing feedback as well as ratings. Users can also receive usage statistics about measures to help decide which measure to use in future research.

Goals of GEM
The GEM database has been conceptualized by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and developed by Westat Inc. with two overarching aims for behavioral research:
  1) Promote the use of standardized measures which are tied to theoretically-based constructs; and
  2) Facilitate the ability to share harmonized data resulting from the use of standardized measures.
These goals are achieved by creating a virtual community of researchers who interact through GEM using web 2.0 capabilities. GEM was developed to empower a virtual research community to collaborate and conduct research more efficiently while simultaneously advancing health information technology and promoting the use of secondary data analysis.

GEM Collaborations
GEM has been used by the Centers of Excellence in Cancer Communication Research (CECCR) researchers since May, 2009. The CECCRs have been actively adding and vetting measures. At the Society of Behavioral Medicine meeting in April 2010, GEM was unveiled as a beta version at the workshop, Informatics, eHealth & Behavioral Science: Synergy for Best Implementation & Outcomes. There are several NIH programs, including PROMIS that relate to GEM. There are plans to collaborate on measures for cultivation.

Richard P. Moser, PhD
Phone: 301-496-0273

Last Updated: March 12, 2012

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health®
National Cancer Institute U.S. National Institutes of Health National Cancer Institute