July 17, 2012

I understand the new STFC version of e-VAL whilst being broadly similar to MRC e-VAL (without the specific medical questions) will include a bulk upload facility – hurrah!  This will be for publications initially but they are aware that we’d like it for other output types so there is a plan.  I am looking forward to testing.

I’m also discussing how we might most efficiently synchronise output information so that STFC do not end up with metadata that differs to what we have on our systems – trickier and we don’t know all the answers yet but the dialogue is open.


Efficiency of RCUK Outcomes System

September 15, 2011

I am attending the PURE UK User Group today to discuss the forthcoming launch of the RCUK Outcomes System. 

Dale Heenan and Helen Meade gave an overview of the current status of the project noting EPSRC, AHRC, BBSRC, and ESRC awards holder outcomes will be included from launch.

NERC have thier own system but expect them to review the situation and may join in the standard offering within a year.

MRC and STFC have e-VAL.

For the short term 4 systems will exist though the aspiration is that within 3-5 years all RC’s will share one outcomes reporting system.

The biggest concern is that we cannot bulk upload from research organisation systems.  It would be useful to have this live when the system goes live to avoid unnecessary duplicate data entry and data cleansing and checking.  RCUK are working with HEI’s on this but the timeframe is currently expected to be after go live so there is an issue.

Late October HEI’s will be given administrative access with go live planned for mid November.





RCUK Outcomes Reporting Specification

March 25, 2011

I’ve spent some time in the last few days working through the latest information I have for the specification to see how prepared we are for this at the University of Glasgow and what work might be involved. 

 I understand an update spec and timeframe will be available to us soon.

It is clear to me that there will be considerable resource requirements for Research Organisations including those that are lucky enough to already hold a lot of the data on core systems already or at the other end of the spectrum where the RO may not want to provide data from core systems but will need to support academics entering data direct to the RCUK system.

There still seems to be considerable overlap between further funding, collaboration and IP which may cause confusion and cost time.  However I am hoping where there is an overlap we can present once (.e.g. in further funding).

There are some requirements that suggest use of standard lists e.g. organisation codes for funders/collaborators frm a standard JeS list, country codes from ONS list.   Standardisation is good however in the short to medium term I suspect many Research Organisations have thier own – or different standard – code structures for these so again this may be a bit problematic.

We also have concerns about resource requirements for checking data.  I understand that RCUK wish to receive data that is suitable for the public domain.  However we think that the University of Glasgow will have to apply some specialist checking to certain data e.g.

  • Bio/Medical e.g. cell lines, antibodies
  • Electronic e.g. data set, algorithm
  • Physical e.g. new molecule, prototype

The other issue we have outstanding is Data Protection/confidentiality around staff development and wether it is appropriate for staff to be asked to comment on other staff as part of the return.

Having said all this I am expecting that the approach will be ‘supply what you can’ or perhaps focus on some key elements e.g. publications initially to allow time to set up local environments.

Launch of Science and Technology Facilities Council e-VAL

February 8, 2011

The following announcement was made today by STFC:

To continue demonstrating the case for investment in science, it is vital that STFC has accurate data on the outputs of our research funding. Following a successful pilot scheme, we are rolling out the e-Val system to ensure that we have a robust, repeatable method to collect this information.

We will use the e-Val system to collect data on impacts arising from grants which we fund in our core areas of Astronomy, Space science exploitation, and Particle and Nuclear Physics. We will also collect data from areas such as Facility Research and Development, Science in Society, High Performance Computing, Follow-on Funding, Innovation Partnerships, and Project Research and Development.

We have commissioned the STFC e-Val on-line system for gathering data related to the impacts from STFC-funded research. This is modelled closely on the system already in operation by MRC. At this stage, STFC e-Val and MRC e-Val exist as stand-alone systems, and it is therefore possible that a researcher with funding from both Councils would need to log into both systems. We recognise that repeated requests for information which is essentially the same, or very similar, puts a strain on resources and anticipate that in the future, a cross-Council Research Outcomes system will address this. In the meantime, we believe that alignment of the process and architecture of the two systems will at least ensure that the burden on researchers is minimised.

We have tailored our question set to reflect the nature of our businesses. The questions are focused on the following key areas:

1. Publications

2. Collaborations and Partnerships

3. Further Funding for Your Research Group

4. Next Destination and Recruitment

5. Dissemination to Non-Academic Audiences

6. Technology Development

7. Intellectual Property and Licensing

8. Spin Outs

9. Awards and Recognition

10. Knowledge and Future Potential

Following completion of a pilot study in July 2010, we are now preparing to run the system for all grants ending 2009 onwards, including those which are current. This will start later in February 2011, running for a period of 8 weeks. Data from the pilot has been retained, so that users who participated should only need to check and amend existing information. The system will be open for update for 8 weeks each year, with read-only access to the PI for the rest of the time. It will then be an annual exercise which allows each PI to review the existing data and add new information, and will run for the lifetime of the grant and for up to 5 years afterwards. In this way we will be able to build up a picture of the outputs and track progress as the grant matures. Project staff are strongly urged to complete the exercise, as failure to provide data will make it harder to capture the outputs and impacts of research.

Further information can be found at the following links: e-Val Website:

Principals of Use:

For STFC grantholders: please do not try logging in to the site until you receive instructions in a separate email. If you have any specific questions, please contact us by email at:

Research Council Developments

June 29, 2010

A loud message from our workshops and discussions is that RCUK should adopt one standard system for capturing research outcomes. 

Comment from one of the focus group members  that we’d like to ’emphasise that the research councils need to be pushed into moving to one single system (whatever this is), as soon as possible’.

In another development STFC e-VAL pilot is now live and runs till 26th July.  A sample of academics with STFC awards have been asked to make returns.  Research Organisation will be provided with results after the exercise closes.  STFC plan to roll the data collection exercise out to the community later this year.  The data collection is similar (but not the same as MRC).  When I see the questions and Glasgow answers I will comment on this blog.