UKRISS Phase 2 has been focussing developing models which will support the reporting of research outcomes. The intention is to enable a harmonised approach to collection and exchange of research information across higher education in the UK through the development of a core information profile of common fields together with supporting CERIF mappings and dictionaries of terms. This will make information exchange more efficient as well as increasing the quality of information on research outcomes. Implementation of a harmonised approach will, however, require change to existing practice within the sector. For this to be implemented, both the research councils and institutions need to appreciate the benefits and costs involved – the business case for change needs to be clear.
Viewforth Consulting is assisting the UKRISS project team with construction of the business case for future investment in the harmonisation of research information reporting and data collection across key sections of the public research base. The work will draw on, and consider, the evidence for the economic (financial and non-financial) costs and benefits of research reporting harmonisation that are available from Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the UKRISS project as well as exploring wider evidence for the potential broader national or ‘macro-level’ strategic benefits that could arise through the related improvements to knowledge about the UK public research base.
The first step will be to develop a broad overview of harmonisation of research information, setting it within the wider strategic context to help convey to key stakeholders the purpose and aims of harmonisation and how it can be realised. This will include using a logic modelling approach to capture the key elements, inputs, activities, outputs and longer term desired outcomes and impacts of harmonisation. This will be followed by an exploration of opportunities which sets the goals of research reporting harmonisation within the broader UK economic context – the importance of the public research base and why better knowledge about the research base is needed – why this is important and how it could be used. This will draw on NESTA work on innovation and other recent literature on UK and innovation as well as related international developments. The potential short, medium, longer term benefits for researchers, institutions, research organisations as well as for government and society will also be explored. This will feed in to cost-benefits analysis of harmonisation of research information. Both current costs and estimates of future costs for institutions as well as research funders will be considered. Estimation will draw heavily on information from phase 1 & 2 of UKRISS; other sources may include the Research councils and other Jisc projects.