Investigating Export of data to MRC System


Today I have been having a further look at how we might send data direct to RCUK system/s in future. 

I pulled a test set of data from our system for some of the entities in the MRC e-VAL exercise as it is actually a LIVE system and I personally think it is a very good place to start as a model for collecting output information.

Initial observations include:

  • ‘Further funding’ and ‘collaboration’ entities are basically the same data extract from our system.  One is working with other parties who are providing some funding and the other is working with other parties who are not providing funding.  I need to discuss further with MRC to check if they need the collaboration to include all the funding (i.e duplicate info).
  • There are a few text fields that hold several bits of info and this can be a bit awkward to store and retrieve easily.  E.g. the ‘impact’ field also asks you to explain if the work was multi-disciplinary.
  • I have been wondering how to identify ‘further funding’ that is relevant to the MRC award without having a field for this in my system as it gets a bit labour intensive – the links between pots of money could be many.  I think that most of the funding obtained by staff after an MRC award might be relevant but of couse some of it might not so how to exclude what is not relevant to the previous MRC award in any way without academics or administrators having to mark it up.
  • Wondering again about standard organisation name codes.  Both internally within GU and across other organisations we use a variety of codes for the same organisation.
  • The usual issue of terminology crops up  e.g. where MRC use project I think that = award on our system.  I have however not come across any major terminology issues with MRC e-VAL so far so should be no problems mapping once we clarify definitions.

These are initial observations and I will let you know how I get on with this over the next few weeks depending on time available to dabble with it!



2 Responses to Investigating Export of data to MRC System

  1. Simon says:

    Organisation codes… yes that is a big issue.
    Certainly if we are to get a UK wide system then we need some sort of ‘authority’ for providing organisation codes. HESA use a code (I think based on the UK Register of Learning Providers) – but that is a rather restricted list of course! There are initiatives for individuals (like ResearcherID) – we’ll need something like that I think – but who would run it? The European Commission have a large database of organisations which might be a starting point?
    Lots of work to do on that front I think.

  2. Valerie says:

    Hi Simon,

    Many thanks for your comment.

    Yes I think a UK system is a long way off with little resource available.

    I do hope that we can make some progress in at least reducing the number of variants we use internally.

    In the meantime I hope I am not being too optimistic in hoping that further variation is avoided when new reporting systems and processes are set up by funders.



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