Home > Sunderland > The Great Big Research System?

The Great Big Research System?

I have been having various conversations re one point of access for research information. 

Chris Moulsley, Head of Joint Information Services Unit, EPSRC/ESRC sent us the following information in relation to potential linkage with initiatives such as IRIOS2.

 In December 2011, BIS published the Innovation & Research Strategy; the strategy specifically mentioned:

The UK’s universities are increasingly collaborating with each other and with external organisations to develop and commercialise knowledge, last year securing over £3 billion from external sources. Going further, we intend to maximise the impact of our research base on economic growth and have committed an additional £495 million to capital projects in support of this aim since January 2011. Additionally the Research Councils will develop a web based ‘Gateway to Research’ which will allow ready access to Research Council funded research information and related data


Research Councils will develop a web based

publicly searchable ‘Gateway to Research’


By 2013/14


The BIS Allocation letters received by the Research Councils in December 2010 stated:

  • make research findings more accessible
  • to all users (business, charities, government etc)

Over the next five years, RCUK will work with partners to ensure that there will be a single public point of access to search and analyse information on:

  • Who and what we fund
  • The outcomes from our funding

To deliver this vision we will work with partners and research/innovative intensive SMEs.

To enable this to happen the following principles will apply:

  • Supporting and developing common standards and interoperability on research information where possible:

    RCUK will use community and common standards wherever possible and work with the wider community to develop common standards where required. This will include work on unique identifiers e.g. name of investigators, name of institution, grant references. All relevant systems will be developed to be interoperable: e.g. the funders’ systems will talk to institutions’ systems.

  • Safeguarding the quality of research management information:

–     Information will only need to be entered once in one system to be accessible to all

–     Information will be quality assured to agreed standards before entering into a system

–     Information will continue to be accessible on a long-term basis (i.e. historical data will be retained)

–     Information to be relevant and accessible to a wide range of users, in particular research/innovative intensive SMEs to support innovation and growth

My initial thoughts on this are that for Research Council funded activity presumably the Research Outcomes System will be the starting point.  What about other funders or unfunded research that might be of interest to stakeholders such as potential collaborators or the public?   There are initiatives such as Research Fish http://www.researchfish.com/demo/register?firstTime=1  that aim to provide for generic research activity reporting regardless of funder.  I’m not advocating this particular system just noting it might be of interest for the discussions on aggregation of research outcomes. 

For any system external to our organisation we want to upload once (from data already keyed into local systems) rather than key direct to the external system – though of course if we get to a stage where there is one UK (or wider) repository for information about research outputs and everyone buys in we might key there first then re-use from there – perhaps a longer term possibility.


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  1. March 5, 2012 at 12:20 pm

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