Annual Irish Universities Quality Board (IUQB) conference
A Window to Irish Research: the Creation of a National Research Website
Research Information Systems Conference: a look at EU Best Practice
Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Jimmy Devins opened a Research Information Systems Conference at the Science Gallery in Trinity College Dublin yesterday. The conference is an integral part of the Irish Universities Association (IUA) project to develop a national research website. The goal of IUA's National Research Platform Project is to provide a web based platform where all publicly funded research projects and information can be found at one location and will be ordered in a user-friendly way. This means that users don't have to browse individual websites to find out what R&D is being undertaken in Ireland.The platform can be used to highlight the extent and quality of the Irish research effort to National and International audiences.
Today's conference will look at EU best practice in research information systems to gauge the standards that Ireland intends to exceed. Commenting on the value of the project Minister Devins said: "Effective implementation of the Strategy for Science Technology & Innovation (SSTI) will require enhanced visibility and accessibility of the national research effort. We need more effective identification and classification of the research being conducted in the Irish higher education sector and research establishments and more effective dissemination of the results of that research to potential users, in Ireland and globally".
Under the project, recipients of R&D publicly funded monies have come together for the first time with Industry representatives and the state/government agencies to assess what information, resources and capabilities will help drive economic competitiveness. The group will look at what can be done on a National level to highlight the extent of the knowledge and R&D in Ireland. The National Research Platform feasibility study will run for one year and is funded equally by the HEA Strategic Innovation Fund [SIF] and the higher education sector.
With the current National Development Plan providing for a very significant increase in the investment in technology, innovation and scientific research, amounting to a commitment of €8.2 billion over the period 2007 to 2013, it is vital that Ireland showcases the excellence of its research to National and International audiences. International collaboration brings benefits to Irish researchers in both the academic arena and companies. Quality standards are driven upwards and engagement with best practice ensures that industries compete at the cutting edge of technology, ensuring optimisation of returns to investment.
Commenting on the relevance of the National Research Platform, IUA Project Manager Dr. Celia Gallagher, said that the "opportunity now exists to bring focus and order to the current situation and to create a single web based locus through which the national research effort can be accessed and quantified in a structured and intelligible manner".
Data from expertiseireland.com will provide the cornerstone for the new National Research Platform. Under the banner of the expertiseireland.com website considerable progress has been made in mining the research information systems of the higher education institutions and creating, in a single web-based location, more than 5700 profiles of knowledge experts and access to the opportunities available for licensing from this sector. Other administrations are now considering similar approaches, including the Australian government.
The expertiseireland.com portal also represents an important national resource of data capable of feeding into initiatives such as benchmarking exercises, or bibliometric analysis. The value of expertiseireland.com has been affirmed by an international peer review process which resulted in the IUA securing funding from SIF for a project to provide open access to research papers of university researchers which would use expertiseireland.com as a national access point. For the first time, Irish research will be freely available worldwide. This access will ensure Irish research has a greater impact by significantly increasing the visibility of Irish research and the concomitant increased citations and awareness. It will also ensure that universities can preserve research in digital format to international standards. In addition the SIF Cycle II funded National Research Data project will provide information on citations and international peer review ranking of the R&D Investment to date.
While these efforts are underway, information on much of the national research effort remains largely inaccessible and inconsistent; either being subsumed into the strata of individual university websites, or spread across disparate and uncoordinated sites devoted to individual research projects. The National Research Platform will provide a window to Irish Research by gathering the information from these projects and presenting it in a user friendly format.