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Is your research information management ready for 2013?

Universities and research funders are currently gearing up to meet the Government demand for more open and accessible research information.

2013’s current research information requests

From January information will need to be submitted to the Research Excellence Framework (REF), the new system for assessing the quality of research in UK universities.

Researchers and universities will need to update their research information records in the Research Outcomes System. This will allow the Research Councils to carry out their data collection exercise in 2013.

The Research Councils are soon to be launching a new Gateway to Research which will bring all information about research held by the councils into one accessible place.


“Analysis of our development work suggests that CERIF can remove virtually all of the administration overhead involved in reporting of research outcomes. A reporting cost per grant of £15 per year can be reduced to as a little as £1 per grant per year using CERIF.”

Dale Heenan
Senior Project Manager at the Economic and Social Research Council


UK research

UK research is amongst the most productive in the world. But is UK plc reaping the full benefit? The aim of these projects is to make information on publicly funded research easily available to all. Businesses, charities and public services can then search for the research expertise they could use to benefit them. From a public perspective, those interested will be able to find out what our taxes have paid for. The hope is to ensure that UK skills and talents are maximised to their best ability, and that developments are transferred to business to ensure benefits are reaching the front line.


Getting the most from your research
information management system

Out of date systems mean it can be time consuming to gather information for submission. It can often be easier and faster with modern systems that cover all areas of research requirements and work together.

Advice and Guidance

If you’re lacking components in your research information system, or are without one altogether the Research Management and Administration System (RMAS) offered by JISC Nexus could help. RMAS has negotiated a procurement framework with six suppliers to enable universities to save costs when procuring up to eight research information management modules. These modules are the individual components which make up a research information management system.

Enabling your research information systems to speak to each other

Research information is often held in incompatible formats in several different systems – for example, grant management in the finance office, a publications database in the research office, a repository in the library.

Advice and Guidance

Jisc has been working with the Research Councils, universities and software vendors, to implement CERIF, a format which allows information to be transferred between systems and to external agencies. They’ve worked together to develop tools to convert information directly into CERIF, (see our CERIF in Action project). Information on research publications held in repositories can be converted automatically into CERIF and uploaded directly into Research Outcomes System, saving you time and money. This can remove virtually all of the administration overhead involved in reporting your research outcomes.

‘Analysis of our development work suggests that CERIF can remove virtually all of the administration overhead involved in reporting of research outcomes. A reporting cost per grant of £15 per year can be reduced to as a little as £1 per grant per year using CERIF’, says Dale Heenan, senior project manager at the Economic and Social Research Council.

Bringing together grant information from your university and the Research Councils

Research information is held in a variety of places, by a mixture of owners. Gathering all the information together in compatible formats can be time consuming and costly.

Advice and Guidance

Reconcile your institution’s information with grant information held by the Research Councils, especially financial information, through a pilot being run by IRIOS2.

“This pilot service allows the linking of outputs and originators with published grant data, and supports the import and export of this linked information to and from proprietary systems using the CERIF standard interface,” says Kevin Ginty, technical manager, Centre for Internet Technology, University of Sunderland.

Try the pilot with username: GUEST password: guest.

Demonstrating the need for your project by using metadata to track journal publications and other outputs

Research funders want to be able to find out what journal articles and other outputs resulted from the work they funded, so it would be helpful if data about journal articles contained information on the identity of the project and the organisation that funded it.

Advice and Guidance

Metadata systems to capture this information are being developed, (see our RIOXX project), and early in 2013 plug-ins will be available to enable publications management systems, such as EPrints and DSpace, to use this metadata automatically.

Guidelines to enable repository managers to collect the required data in a standard format will be available shortly. If you would like to receive a link to these once they are available please contact

One aim for the future in this area will be to extend metadata to include information on which organisation paid the article publishing charge for an open access journal.




More info…

Read our crib sheet on how to manage your research information and be ready for the research excellence framework.



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