The Rotterdam Exchange Format Initiative (REFI) was formed to develop the REFI-QDA Standard for exchanging processed qualitative data between QDA software programs. REFI originated in September 2016 at the KWALON Conference: Reflecting on the Future of QDA Software (Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands), where the CEOs of eight QDA software companies stated their willingness to work together to create an interoperability standard. These software companies were: ATLAS.ti, Dedoose, f4analyse, MAXQDA, NVivo, QDAMiner, Quirkos and Transana. Soon after, REFI was formed with a group of expert users/trainers of QDA software and standardization experts acting as a project coordination group.

REFI membership

The core working group consists of representatives from the QDA software programs – the developer group – and expert users/trainers of QDA software and standardization – the coordination group. Members with an * by their names have been actively involved in the project throughout, contributing to all stages of the design, implementation and testing of the exchange format up to this point.

The Developer Group

  • Friedrich Markgraf / Sebastian Petrausch (ATLAS.ti)*
  • Joachim Pfaff (f4analyse)*
  • Andre Liebenberg (NVivo) *
  • Normand Peladeau (QDA Miner)*
  • Daniel Turner (Quirkos)*
  • David Woods (Transana)*
  • Eli Lieber (Dedoose)
  • Julia Gerson (MAXQDA)

The Co-ordinating Group

  • Jeanine Evers (KWALON, Erasmus University Rotterdam)*
  • Élias Rizkallah (Université du Québec à Montréal)*
  • Christina Silver (CAQDAS Networking Project)*
  • Fred Van Blommestein (University of Groningen)*
  • Yves Marcoux (Université de Montréal)*


  • Adam Long (NVivo) (2016 – 2017)
  • Darren Ford (NVivo) (2017 – 2018)
  • Kristi Jackson (Coordination group) (2016 – 2017)
  • Steve Wright, Gerben Moerman (User testers 2019)

REFI Sponsors

Several sponsors have facilitated the progress of REFI by funding face-to-face meetings meetings (in Rotterdam, The Netherlands and Montreal, Canada), by partly funding the Coordination Group Chair (Jeanine Evers) and a standardization expert (Fred Van Blommestein), and by partly funding the testing of the standard. Other members of the Coordination Group have volunteered their time to the initiative.

We are much indebted to:

  • Erasmus School of Law (Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Canada)
  • Erasmus Trust Fund Rotterdam (The Netherlands)
  • CLARIAH (The Netherlands)
  • Executive Board of Erasmus University Rotterdam (The Netherlands)
  • Erasmus Studio (Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
  • Faculté des Sciences Humaines (Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada)
  • EBSI of Faculté des arts et des sciences (Université de Montréal)
  • KWALON (The Netherlands)


For more information about REFI please contact Jeanine Evers, Chair of the Coordination Group