UKRISS Phase 2: focus on modelling

Following the recent publication of the Feasibility Study from phase 1 of the UKRISS project, we are pleased to announce that JISC have approved the funding for Phase 2 of the project.

We previously provided JISC with 3 options for how phase 2 could progress:

Option 1: Focus on modelling. This option focuses on the development of a core information profile and serialisation in CERIF. Extensions to include CERIF modelling of organisational structures and HR data can be made to support internal collation of research information.

Option 2: Focus on benchmarking. This option involves the development of a benchmarking tool that exploits shared information to carry out cross-institutional information analysis. A subset of the modelling work in 1 will be carried out to support this.

Option 3: Focus on reporting infrastructure. This option has a focus on the development of a reporting service based on connecting funders and institutions to a single cloud-based connector (Enterprise Service Bus). Smaller CERIF modelling and benchmarking tasks are included as well as work on sustainability of such a service.

After deliberating on the pros and cons of each option, consulting with the Steering Group, and with other members of the community, Jisc has selected Option 1: Focus on modelling:

It was felt that the work required for Option 2: Focus on Benchmarking was being partially addressed already elsewhere, for example by the Gateway-to-Research for HE and Snowball projects, and that the aim was too long term for the time and resources available to UKRISS. Therefore, the Steering Group didn’t feel that this was worth pursuing further at this point. Meanwhile, Option 3: Focus on Reporting, wasn’t felt to have a sufficiently strong business justification, given the size and complexity of the task, and more work was needed on the technical options appraisal. The direction signalled by Option 1, though, was felt to be central to significant future work in this sector, and was therefore the way forward.

The next stage for us is to make a more concrete plan for this second phase, bearing in mind the following things:

  1. Existing support for the sector in the use of CERIF via the CERIF support post at UKOLN and through close collaboration with euroCRIS.
  2. Sustainability, and the relationship of the project outputs to the Regulatory Partnership Group, and other community efforts
  3. Support of the models by relevant technical development – code libraries for supporting the models, validators, demonstrators to show value – to ensure that the only output is not just documentation which may not have sufficient impact
  4. Futher development on appraising technical options to deliver value to universities, based on this modelling work and work elsewhere.
  5. Incorporate a business model for both the value of the project outputs and the value of future investment in this area

In the next few weeks, the project will then be working on a plan which will aim to provide outputs including:

  • Documentation of a set of models/profiles appropriate for both funder information and institutional data (HR, org structure, etc) with CERIF serialisations
  • Supporting code libraries/services (e.g. validators)/demonstrators as necessary
  • Implementation guides (i.e. how to apply the models to your data), for institutions, funders and vendors.
  • Potential further work on modelling and supporting gap analysis
  • An institution case study for adopting the models, based on one of the project partners
  • Business case to justify further investment in this area

You’ll hear from us on this blog as soon as a plan has taken shape. In the mean time, your comments on this way forward are welcome.

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