Defining a new role: the embedded Research Information Manager
This was a pathfinder that defined the need, explored the benefits and risks, and evaluated the approaches for establishing a dedicated information specialist within a multidisciplinary research environment. The project operated at two levels. Firstly, it established a pragmatic methodology for defining and embedding a new role – Research Information (RI) Manager – that can be evaluated and refined for wider use through JISC infoNet and UKOLN
involvement. Secondly, it defined the role skill set required to enhance the management of research information and data within the Accessibility Research Group (ARG), established by Prof Nick Tyler at University College London (UCL). The ARG provides a rich information management challenge with research activities fusing elements of engineering, architecture, design, bioscience, public health, and environmental sciences to identify ways to improve transport access for all. The British Library (BL
) was ideally placed as a partner on this project as it had been developing the concept of the RI manager in consultation with a number of research organisations, including UCL.
The pathfinder comprised three phases. Phase 1 to capture and evaluate ARG information/data needs and practices throughout the research lifecycle via a series of in-depth structured interviews and focus groups. Key institutional stakeholders such as research managers, administrators, ICT
service providers, repository administration and library support were also included. Based on Phase 1 analysis, Phase 2 used desk and web research to identify existing models of good practice that mapped to the context-specific information requirements of the ARG. This phase alsod involve study visits and telephone interviews. Phase 3 delivered a report that evaluatesdthe approaches taken, recommended the requirements for successful establishment of the role within the ARG and set out the key findings for the broader HE
research community. The ARG intend to use the outcomes of this pathfinder to inform successful implementation of the role as a pilot in the first instance, including; recruitment, training and evaluation of success.