This post is the author’s understanding of a talk given at the CRIS 2012 conference by Jan Dvorak. The Czech national CRIS provides an interesting example of a very widely used and successful research information system that provides useful experiences and pointers for UKRISS.
The Czech national CRIS has been in existence since 1994. It contributes to providing trust in national research and innovation activities, by providing open access to a large volume of research information funded by national programmes. The R&D&I budget is around 1 billion Euros per year. The system is managed from the Office of the Government. The software was developed by Infoscience Praha.
The central database comprises a registry of funded projects, institutional research plans, research outputs (publications, patents and technologies) and funding calls. Analytical tools are provided for use by government officials and funders. The largest section is research outputs with 870,000 objects, increasing at a rate of 100,000 per year.
Apart from certain classified data and personal information, all material is publicly available on the web. Bulk export in zip format is possible, and search capability is provided.
The system uses a batch oriented approach for data collection, where funders report annually on all their funding activities via a universal service. It was considered that a more interactive approach to data collection would not scale well to a national level due the complexity and diversity of approval mechanisms for the data.
Funding activities are reported by funders to the national CRIS. Researchers report their outputs to their institutions, who then report this information to funders. Funders verify the information before forwarding it to the national CRIS. Thus a single research output from a collaborative research project could be reported to the national CRIS via multiple institutions and funders. Information is analysed and de-duplicated by the national CRIS using a web-based checking service, which contributes greatly to the completeness and quality of the information.
The system is heavily used, with over 300,000 requests per month. The government uses the system for strategic planning and resource allocation. It is used by funders and review panels for project evaluation. Research organisations can perform analysis of their own activities. Within a 2 year period, the system is though to have been used by around 39,000 researchers in the Czech Republic, for such purposes as finding publications or research collaborators. The system is also used by businesses working in innovation and the general public.