What can and should we capture information about?

At our recent workshops we did a quick poll based on some of the entities that RCUK suggested they might want to gather data for.

These entities may change now that the RCUK Outcomes Project is not planning to build a new system but use several existing systems however we expect that they will want to capture information about a large % of these.

DISCLAIMER: This was a quick unscientific poll deliberately copied from an informal exercise carried out at one of the RCUK Outcomes Focus Groups – we did not choose the questions ourselves.   Please treat the information with caution but we do think it does give some useful indications.   We’d like to run another poll in future with different questions to try and get more useful results.

From a Research Organisation perspective the following were generally voted easy to capture and worthwhile to capture:


The following were voted as worthwhile capturing though there may be difficulties:


The following were seen as difficult to capture and of limited value to capture:


A summary of the poll can be found at:


3 Responses to What can and should we capture information about?

  1. Kerron Harvey says:

    One of the things that struck me about people participating in the London workshop was that they formed a pretty diverse group – comprising eg. library staff involved with research archives, IT staff, research administrators, research policy specialists, KE marketing specialists. It would be interesting to know whether participants in the Glasgow workshop were as diverse.

    I think this diversity goes some way to explain the combined poll results, which seem surprisingly inconsistent. For instance, only 72% of people who expressed an opinion felt that it was worthwhile for an RO to capture info on ‘intellectual property’ – whereas nearly 90% thought that it was important to capture info on patents – yet only 82% thought it was important to capture info on licences … which is all a bit inconsistent. Strikingly, 93% thought it was important to capture info on spin-out companies – yet spin-out companies constitute a far less common exploitation mechanism than licensing.

    Equally strikingly, everyone who expressed an opinion thought it was worth capturing info on books, compared to 96% support for capturing info on journal articles, compared to just 48% support for capturing info on other types of publications.

    I think we would get more consistent results if any future workshops tried to bring together people with similar roles in HEIs – most notably, people using HEIF funding to foster KE, as it’s their job to foster the kinds of activities and outcomes that RCUK is keen to see.

    • Aimee says:

      Many thanks for your comments and observations, Kerron.

      The Glasgow group was similarly mixed, with a range of delegates from Research Office, library and IT backgrounds. In fact, this was one of our aims in organising the workshops – in bringing together a diverse group of professionals we hoped to elicit a wider range of perspectives for consideration.

      I agree this could well explain the varied poll results. Another contributory factor could also be the small sample size – the poll would be well worth repeating on a larger scale to gauge opinion across the sector.

  2. Valerie says:

    Hi Kerron,

    Yes the poll is unscientific hence my attempt at a disclaimer in the post. We just tried it as a quick interactive poll to see if any indications arose and to flush out the issues with clarity of definitions. We based it on questions asked of the RCUK Outcomes Project Focus Group so didn’t want to deviate from these.

    We have some ideas for a more specific poll with additional questions that might be more indicative and we may well design such a poll in future depending on direction of RCUK plans and availability of resource.

    The first workshops were aimed mainly at sharing ideas and helping specialists from one area understand the other areas. We are considering more specific discussions for those that are specialists in some of the areas – you mention Knowledge Exchange and another example might be theatre.

    I think the low % on capturing ‘other publications’ might be due in part to the limited definition currently available for this.

    If you have any more ideas or suggestions we’d love to hear from you.

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