Research information management
Research activity is a fundamental activity within the UK Higher Education (HE) sector and for many institutions is a major revenue income stream. In common with all other areas of endeavour, research is becoming increasingly dependent on information systems to manage the complex information flows that it creates. Reductions in university funding and changes to external reporting requirements mean that in the medium term future it is probable there will be an increased need for institutions to be able to demonstrate how their research funds were utilised and the value for money they provided.
Why invest in Research Information Management?
While there are numerous examples of good practice and sophisticated system interaction, our research suggests that information systems to support Research Management have grown piecemeal in most institutions. There are a number of stakeholders in research and research management activities and each of these has, to some degree, developed their own information system support. The results from our own survey conducted in 2010 demonstrate that in most institutions these systems are, to a greater or lesser extent, discrete and separate with limited integration.
As one part of a string of initiatives by JISC and JISC infoNet, our work in this area will seek to develop a better understanding of the processes of Research Information Management (RIM) systems within institutions and the processes for building a business case for justifying the development of such systems. It also aims to offer an online resource to provide support and guidance for institutions considering further development of their RIM systems. A prime objective of this project is to work with, and to support, projects funded by the JISC Innovations Group during the lifetime of this project and to help synthesise and disseminate their findings to the community at large.
A key feature of this resource is that it is largely comprised of the experience of institutions up and down the country as they seek to improve Research Information Management within their organisations. Their experiences (both good and bad) combine to provide a wealth of good practice and lessons learned which will prove of enormous benefit to other institutions who find themselves following this same path. Their experiences have been drawn together – either directly or indirectly – to produce most of the material contained within the three themes above, but they can also be accessed directly using the links in the navigation.
As you will see, some institutions appear as both JISC-funded projects and case studies. This reflects the true range of their involvement in the Research Information Management agenda and the differing routes by which this has been surfaced.