Research information management (RIM) is the aggregation, curation, and utilization of metadata about research activities. Institutional RIM adoption, together with activities by publishers, funders, and libraries, can help to reliably connect a complex scholarly communications landscape of researchers, affiliations, publications, datasets, grants, projects, and their persistent identifiers.

Goals, drivers, priorities, uses and the state of adoption vary widely, although most observers agree that European research information management practices are more established than those in North America, due to differences in research assessment and regulatory requirements. In order to better understand RIM practices, and to learn more about the emerging role of libraries in this landscape, OCLC Research has collaborated this year with partner libraries, LIBER, and euroCRIS to investigate and report on RIM developments worldwide.

In a recent position paper developed with OCLC Research Library Partners, we cover a number of different uses that may fall under the RIM umbrella, including activities such as:

  • compiling an institutional registry or bibliography of research outputs
  • supporting internal and external reporting requirements
  • streamlining annual academic progress review workflows
  • promoting institutional reputation through information-rich researcher profiles

Figure 1. “RIM Uses” by OCLC Research, from Research Information Management: Defining RIM and the Library’s Role (doi.org/10.25333/C3NK88), CC BY 4.0.

We purposely chose to apply the phrase research information management (RIM) to describe not just a single use case or workflow, but the ecosystem—a rubric that is intentionally inclusive of a variety of regionally specific uses and can accommodate new practices to come. Our hope is that this model will help institutions collecting and using research metadata to recognize similarities, even if their goals and practices differ.

Another recent report, Convenience and Compliance: Case Studies on Persistent Identifiers in European Research Information Management examines how persistent person and organizational identifiers are being integrated into European RIM practices.

We are now working to expand on this research with an international Survey of Research Information Management Practices, developed with euroCRIS. Through this survey, we are collecting information about how and why institutions are adopting RIM infrastructures; what uses, functionality, systems, and workflows are in place; and who are the institutional stakeholders, with a particular interest in better understanding the role of libraries.

We believe that this survey will provide valuable information to RIM stakeholders worldwide, including librarians, research administrators, institutional researchers, policy makers, RIM service providers like Digital Science, and university and research institutional leaders.

We invite participation from universities, research institutes, and other organizations supporting research and research management, and we particularly encourage research institutions to participate regardless of their status of RIM adoption—we are interested in hearing from organizations whether they are currently exploring, implementing, or in production. The more responses we have from all active members of the RIM community, the more information we will be able to synthesize and share, so please ensure that your institution participates.

Connecting the survey with the right person within each institution is a central challenge for this study. While completing the survey itself should take only 10–30 minutes, we recognize that it may take some additional legwork to answer all of the questions on behalf of your institution. That’s why we’ve provided a PDF version of the survey for you to review in advance.

The survey will remain open through 31 January 2018. More details about the survey are available at oc.lc/rim, and we also provide additional guidance in a recent OCLC Research blog post. One survey per institution, please.

The survey findings and data will be published CC-BY by OCLC Research in 2018.

Rebecca Bryant, PhD, serves as Senior Program Officer at OCLC Research where she leads and develops areas for the OCLC Research Library Partnership and for OCLC Research related to research information management and research support services, contributing to our thematic focus on Research Collections and Support.

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