Update on Research Information System (RIS) Implementation

September 2nd, 2019

As Programme Sponsor I would like to start this update by thanking everyone who has been involved in setting up RIS and using it in our Faculties and Professional Services.

It has been a busy last 6 months with a lot of work going on behind the scenes to prepare the final implementation steps. It’s been a frustrating period as integrating RIS with our HR and Financial systems has proven tricky, but we are ironing out the last few problems.

In late 2018 we launched the REF module within RIS. The REF module will help administer our submission in November 2020. Over the past few months over 19,000 internal REF scores have been input into RIS and we are continuing to improve the data quality for outputs likely to be included in our submission. Some aspects of the functionality of the initial REF module proved difficult and more of the internal outputs review process was undertaken offline than we would have liked. In the next few weeks we will have tested and launched a new version of RIS, which reflects user feedback and builds in some of the latest REF submission details from Research England. We expect the full guidance from Research England on REF submissions to be incorporated into RIS in early 2020 as the system supplier, Worktribe, digest the final changes to the methodology for REF and logistics of the submission through a national portal.

Following some initial tests over the past few weeks, at the end of October we will be fully switching on the data harvesting function in the Outputs Module. Data harvesting enables RIS to import new or changed publication data from external databases such as CrossRef, Scopus and Web of Science. When operational this will allow RIS to bring the final publication details into our system to match them with the author deposited version. This will ensure that our publication data quality is much improved going forward. Please look out for separate communications from Libraries about the action we need academics to take over the next few weeks to ensure your outputs are appropriately harvested – including checking ORCID and Researcher IDs and any current in progress outputs in your RIS profile. In the long run data harvesting will make management of publication records easier and more accurate, but it will require academic staff to take some action to reject or accept any new publications to push them through to Libraries.

I will update all staff on RIS in late Autumn. We expect to be concluding the implementation work at that stage and handing the system over to the RIS Operational Board. This Board is chaired by the system owner, the Director of Research and Innovation, and will be responsible for ongoing improvements in our use of RIS to enhance and, hopefully, simplify our research administration processes in the future.

Professor Kevin Shakesheff,
PVC Faculty of Science

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