RCUK – No Single System Likely

Hi All,

The latest update from RCUK can be found at:


From this I understand that there will be at least 3 different sets of questions about Research Council awards rather than one standard set of metrics for all Research Councils.   Whilst I recognise that some subjects will have different specialist questions I am not convinced separating them out is the most useful approach. Like other metrics exercises I think ignoring questions where they are irrelevant (or indeed having the system ignore them for you) might be an option.

I am sure that RCUK will provide a schema to allow us to upload data directly from our systems rather than data having to be uploaded direct to the RCUK systems with the risk that this might differ to what HEI’s hold.  I am anxious to hear more about this so that we can manage the requirements here at Glasgow.

Seems it may be time consuming with a greater potential for error and confusion than one standard questionnaire.

Of course our friends at RCUK may come up with some easy fixes so here’s hoping!

What do others think?  Please do comment in the box below and take part in this quick poll.

2 Responses to RCUK – No Single System Likely

  1. Alan Green says:

    As PM for this project on behalf of the Research Councils, the situation is not quite so dire as the post would lead you to believe. Yes, there will be three systems in place rather than one, at least in the short term, but all Councils are working to minimise the differences in the data that the three systems will collect. While they won’t all collect the same data (e.g. Arts & Humanities is very different from Physics), they will all aim to collect data about common interests in the same way. So, for example, the information collected about a publication will be the same regardless of which system is used to collect it or which Council is requesting it. Clearly it will take some time to achieve this, but it is the first step towards a single converged system over a longer period.

    • Valerie says:

      Dear Alan.

      Many thanks for trying to help us understand what is planned. I realise that there are still a lot of unknowns that will become clearer with time and some things that seem to be issues now may disappear whilst other issues emerge. My concerns are:

      – We want to provide data direct from our systems. This should not be technically difficult but provides opportunity for error and confusion. Each Research Organisation might have to devise methods for uploading to 3 different systems and have 3 X the administrative burden – a cost to the tax payer and time that could be spent on more value adding work.

      – We want to avoid the situation where RC systems hold data that our systems do not. We already have data synchronisation and duplication issues with JeS and this jeapordises confidence in the data. Perhaps the RCUK team are already thinking how one standard specification can be used to provide data from Research Organisation systems and irrelevant fields can be filtered out by the receiving systems. Robust, supported testing of this to allow those who wish to update directly would be great.

      – If award holders are uploading data direct to the RC systems they may have to login and be familiar with several systems instead of one. Hopefully differences will be minimal. Administrators will need to be au fait with several systems rather than just one.

      Hopefully we can work through the various issues together to minimise resource requirements for all concerned.

      I’m an optimist but can’t help thinking that in the next year or so award holders will be receiving requests to provide data direct to several systems with no mechanism in place to automatically update from our systems.

      Can you let us know how Award Holders and Research Organisations will be able to input to the development process?

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