The UK keeps a huge amount of information about research. From funding applications to datasets, from HESA and REF reporting to publications lists. People and institutions across the sector need to manage and share this information at every level. The challenge, however, is that this information is often stored in different systems and formats, some commercial or proprietary and some home-grown and unique.
I believe rewards for better research information management are significant. By taking the friction out of reporting, universities can make genuine efficiency savings both of cash and time. Businesses and other potential partners can find out more about current research and can seek and find the researcher with the expertise they need. Researchers spend less time duplicating information in different systems, freeing them to get on with their real business: research.
In order to make the exchange and management of research information easier and more efficient, Jisc has joined with the research councils, HEFCE, HESA, ARMA, UCISA and a number of universities, projects and companies to form the Research Information Management Group (RIMG).
The group has played a successful role in helping the sector to respond to a rapidly evolving environment. It has made the technical and business case for the adoption of a common research information standard, pointed the way to greater harmonisation of systems across the sector and created an opportunity for all the members of the group to come together behind a strategic vision.
Jisc has taken forward a suite of projects which build on this vision. They have addressed many of the practical issues of improving research information management, from supporting researchers in their daily work to sharing large volumes of information between research partners and REF reporting. Jisc infoNet has added its own research and case studies to the experience of these projects, built on the work of the RIMG and created a Research Information Management infoKit.
The infoKit is designed to provide senior managers with the key information they need to build better policies. It provides those tasked with procuring and evaluating systems with solid advice and gives staff who wish to implement better management and technical systems the benefit of a lot of hands-on experience.
But for me what is enjoyable about this work is that is it constantly evolving. The infoKit will be updated and adapted as the RIMG develops its vision and Jisc projects create new tools and resources. It is already a valuable resource, but it will repay a fresh look now and again, as it grows and more value is added. Improved research information management strengthens all the partners in the world of research and Jisc, by partnering with the RIMG and developing the infoKit is helping the UK to realise those benefits.
If you're interested in our work in research information management find out more.