ATLAS.ti understands the necessity of re-using research results for processing and publication in other applications. It therefore sports the widest range of export and reporting facilities of any QDA package.
We are very excited to see that–after fifteen years of ATLAS.ti being the only manufacturer to steadfastly champion universal data exchange–other software makers are now coming around to seeing the benefit of not holding users’ data hostage any longer.
ATLAS.ti responded to the wishes of researchers early on by offering an open, application-independent export format for universal use. This long-standing commitment to academic openness and the free flow of ideas is now being recognized as an important value in itself.
I am convinced that being able to move projects seamlessly between different applications will be of great benefit to the research community. We are extremely proud to have been pioneers of this movement, and we are looking forward to the many advancements it will bring!
BTW, here is an article from 2000 (!) that already describes the basic vision that has guided us in this area.
ATLAS.ti is a founding member of the Rotterdam Exchange Format Initiative (REFI), the consortium that designs and governs the interoperability standard QDPX. At the heart of the matter, QDPX is an XML-based structured data format that permits not only long-term product storage and product-independent archival of qualitative research projects, but also aims at the exchange of projects between different software products.
ATLAS.ti has long championed the idea of universal exchangeability of qualitative research data between different applications and was the first manufacturer to introduce a full XML project export in their software as early as 2004. The idea of a universal data export was always a very obvious feature for us, considering the immense value that is added to data that have been processed, analyzed, and structured in the qualitative analysis process.
In the past fifteen years, we have demonstrated through many exemplary applications (many embedded in older versions of ATLAS.ti) what kinds of additional value lies in this data and in how many different and powerful ways it be used and re-purposed–from direct transformation into visually oriented presentations formats (web pages, printable reports, ebooks) to transformation into a huge variety of data formats (e.g, .rtf, csv, sql). And despite the wide spectrum of these sample applications, they barely scratch the surface of what further powerful uses will still be possible in the future.
The most immediate benefit of QDPX quite obviously lies in the fact that it enables users of various QDA software products to migrate their research projects between different packages. As more manufacturer join the initiative and implement the new standard, its usefulness to researchers will doubtlessly grow exponentially.
Find below some general arguments for QDPX and descriptions of some of its practical benefits:
QDPX is not the same thing as a proper project bundle. .qdpx is a lowest common denominator to transfer projects between different software packages. But these products are all vastly different, meaning that not nearly all of the features of product A are available in product B. Hence, a QDPX bundle only contains items that all participating products have in common, not all items you see in a given ATLAS.ti project.
QDPX is not a cross-version transfer format. While in theory you could use QDPX to transfer projects from newer program versions to the (discontinued) ATLAS.ti 8, this is definitely not recommended, and you are doing so with a distinct loss of information–and thus at your own risk! Because of the “lowest common denominator” nature of QDPX, you lose a good deal of information when using QDPX to transfer projects from ATLAS.ti 9 to v.8 (or even earlier versions of ATLAS.ti 9 than the one you have). The information lost includes, among other things, text quotations in .pdf documents, networks, certain relations, all smart objects, and more. Most importantly, a project imported in this way in ATLAS.ti 8 cannot be merged with other, “real” ATLAS.ti projects any longer. We cannot accept responsibility for for any damage resulting from such an operation.