Practices and Patterns in Research Information Management: Findings from a Global Survey

Rebecca Bryant, Anna Clements, Pablo de Castro, Joanne Cantrell, Annette Dortmund, Jan Fransen, Peggy Gallagher, Michele Mennielli

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    Practices and Patterns in Research Information Management: Findings from a Global Survey represents an effort to better understand how research institutions are applying research information management (RIM) practices. This survey was conducted as part of a strategic partnership between OCLC Research and euroCRIS, and contributes to shared goals to collect quantitative and qualitative data about research information management practices worldwide, to build upon previous research by both organizations, and to provide a baseline of observations for future research.

    A web-based survey was administered from 25 October 2017 through 8 February 2018 and yielded 381 survey responses from 44 countries, demonstrating the global nature of research information management activities. This survey employed a convenience sample and the subsequent report is intended to be exploratory and descriptive in nature. A working group comprised of subject matter experts in RIM practices representing both OCLC Research and euroCRIS worked collaboratively to synthesize the data and to write this report.

    Research information management practices are complex, and institutions frequently report using several systems to support research information workflows that increasingly demand greater interoperability—with both internal and external systems. Increasingly consolidated commercial and open-source platforms are becoming widely implemented across regions, coexisting with a large number of region-specific solutions as well as locally developed systems. Interoperability is regularly considered a key feature valued or desired in a RIM system, something expected to improve in future systems or configurations, and the use of identifiers, standards, and protocols are perceived as most valuable when they can also facilitate interoperability.

    The growing need for improved interoperability between managing open access workflows and the curation of institutional research outputs metadata is giving rise to the increasing functional merging of RIM systems and institutional repositories. This change is being driven in some locales by regional, national, and funder requests to make publicly sponsored research findings openly available—and for institutions to track their progress toward open access goals.

    Complex, cross-stakeholder teams are necessary for providing the best possible research support services. Research offices remain leading stakeholders in RIM practices, and the library is also shown to have significant responsibilities, particularly related to support for open access, metadata validation, training, and research data management. Libraries are particularly involved in cases where RIM practices intersect with library responsibility for one or more scholarly communications repositories, reinforcing the increasing overlap of practice and workflows between previously siloed RIM systems and repository systems.

    This report frequently emphasizes the analysis of regional differences in order to provide insights on variations in practices and their level of consolidation. By examining research information practices from a global perspective, we are better able to understand the importance and breadth of national research assessment frameworks and open science policies as a key driver strongly shaping priorities of RIM activities in those countries and regions where they exist. In addition, we can also observe an emerging set of additional objectives—such as the desire to improve services for researchers or the need to support institutional reputation and decision-making—that institutions operating in less demanding policy environments see as key incentives for their own RIM strategies.

    OCLC Research and euroCRIS plan to repeat this survey in the future, developing longitudinal data and knowledge about evolving RIM practices in order to help inform the global research community.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationDublin, OH.
    Number of pages92
    Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2018


    • research information systems
    • euroCRIS
    • research information management
    • CRIS software
    • system interoperability
    • repositories
    • Open Access

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