Systems Support for Research Information

A key point in Strategy 2030 and the information management strategy is that the visibility and availability of information about research at KI needs to be improved. Researchers and other employees, as well as external users, need to access information about ongoing and completed research at KI more easily.

Decorative picture.
Photo: John Schnobrich on Unsplash

Background and current situation

There is a great need for easily accessible and easy-to-manage information about ongoing and completed research at KI. Researchers, coordinators, journalists, administrators, communicators and an interested public are some examples of groups that for various reasons want and need to be able to search for information based on various parameters. For example; when looking for research collaborations, planning activities, finding an expert, getting an overview of what is being done in a specific area or when compiling reports. Researchers also need to be able to reach out with information about their research without burdensome administration.

We already have a lot of information about our researchers and the research that is being done, but it is spread in several individual systems that are not interconnected. Further, these systems are neither always accessible for different groups, nor generally searchable or user-friendly.

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Research information refers to information about research at KI and the context in which it is carried out. For example, this may include:  

  • researchers (CVs, research area, organisational affiliations, assignments, distinctions...)  
  • intellectual output (publications, patents, posters, presentations...)  
  • organisational structures (departments, research groups, centres...)  
  • projects (members, grants, partners, media reporting...)  
  • infrastructure (tools, technologies...).

Research information does not in this case include underlying work materials, knowledge and research data.  

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Procurement of a Research Information Managment System

Several different units at KI have since long identified the need for a Research Information Managment System (RIMS). This is a system that weaves together the information from the university's various systems and, as well as making it searchable, presents it in a coherent and clear way in a common interface. (Read more about RIMS and see examples further down the page.) The context has previously been too narrow to justify an investment of such system, though within the framework of Strategy 2030, KI has now been able to take a broader approach. The project System Support for Research Information has had the task of analyzing KI's needs and conditions, as well as evaluating the research information systems available on the market.

Based on the project's preparatory work that took place in 2020–2021, the steering group for the Information Management program at KI made a decision on the procurement of a KI RIMS.

The procurement was ongoing during the winter and spring of 2021/2022, and an award decision was published in June 2022. In September 2022, contract signing took place, and the goal is that RIMS will be in operation within KI in March 2023. 

About the project and the project group

The implementation of a RIMS, with all the phases and feasibility studies that have led to it, is part of the Information Management program at KI, which was decided at the same time as Strategy 2030, in April 2019. 

The project group consists of participants from the University Library, the IT Department, the Communications and Public Relations Office and the Research Support Office. The project will use several reference groups and pilot testing organizations consisting of representatives from the research activities and other parts of the administration. A steering group (see below) has the task of creating the conditions for a successful implementation of KI's RIMS.

During the autumn of 2021, an operational steering group was appointed with the task of creating the conditions for a successful procurement and implementation of a RIMS.

The purpose and objectives of the project

The purpose of the project is to create a coherent systems support for research information at KI, so that adequate, up-to-date and accurate information about KI’s ongoing and completed research and researchers will be easily accessible to both external and internal users. Among other things, this means that:

  • It should be easy to find up-to-date and relevant information about KI researchers and ongoing or completed KI research, both internally and externally.
  • KI researchers should be able to achieve increased dissemination of information about their research without increased administration.
  • There should be overviews of KI’s ongoing and completed research, presented in a way that is both relevant and pedagogical.
  • It should be faster to obtain relevant decision/analysis bases related to KI’s research and researchers.

Assignment

The project has been tasked with investigating both the current landscape of systems and information and proposing a way forward. Through interviews and discussions with KI researchers and staff within support functions, and by scanning the market and sibling universities for good solutions, the project group has: 

  • charted the needs of researchers and operational support functions,  
  • described the current situation description of today's research information, processes and systems, and 
  • listed the measures needed to establish a coordinated and efficient management of research information. 

Based on this, a decision was made on the procurement and then on award. The task of the project group is now to continue working with the implementation process.

Priority use cases

The prioritized user stories form the basis for choices and priorities made in the project. The stories are largely based on the interview survey of KI researchers and administrative support staff conducted in the first phase of the project in spring 2020: 

  • As a researcher, I need to know who at KI has knowledge of or access to certain methods, technical equipment, or digital resources, to use in my own research.
  • As the coordinator of a network or centre, I want to be able to use scientific key words to make it easier for others to find exactly the correct research area.
  • As a dean, head of department or research coordinator, I need an overview of research within KI’s departments, so that I can promote collaboration and avoid parallel silos.
  • As a PI, I want an easy-to-manage website for my group, so that others can fins information about our research. The page should contain the group’s collected publications, ongoing and completed projects, and members, with the option to hide certain information.
  • As a PI, I want to know who at KI are conducting research in areas adjacent to mine. So that I can propose collaborations.
  • As a journalist, administrator or external decision maker, I want to find an expert in a certain research field to get information required for my work.

Operational steering group

Urban Lendahl, NVS and CMB, chair

Sofie Albinsson, the University Library  

Björn Kull, Research Support Office 

Mikael Wettercrantz, IT Office

Jill Jönsson, Communications and Public Relations Office 

More about RIMS

A Research Information Management System (RIMS) retrieves and connects the research information that is already registered in other systems at a higher education institution. Properly implemented, a RIMS contributes both to improving searchability by having all the information gathered in one place, and to streamlining and simplifying management as information already created in one place can be reused in another.

In a RIMS, the researcher has the opportunity to supplement and edit the information about their research, as well as choose who will be able to take part in it. 

RIMS is used today at many universities around the world. Here you can see examples from the University of Helsinki:

Contact

Jonas Molander

Programme leader
UF Central Administration