Introducing the new research information system at Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences

Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences is host to a great deal of practical research across a wide range of fields. During their many interdisciplinary projects, researchers are discovering more and more the importance and utility of quality data processing and the transparent exchange of standardised research findings. In response, Rhine-Waal University has set out to pool all future information of relevance for research and development in a new digital research information system.

What is a research information system and what is the Kerndatensatz Forschung?

A research information system, is an integrated database in which central and de-central research information (e.g. publications, third-party funded projects, patents etc.) are digitally compiled and interlinked.

Scientific findings, i.e. research data, are stored according to the Kerndatensatz Forschung (in German), or KDSF, a predefined data standard in the German scientific community. Its implementation in the national scientific system of Germany in 2016 (in German) was expressly recommended by the Science and Humanities Council of Germany (WR). These new guidelines were intended to produce a uniform, valid and thus comparable collection of research data across Germany, while also ensuring said data could still be tied into international standards as needed. The KDSF sets minimum requirements for storing research data and applies to the following groups and areas: researchers, third party-funding and finances, publications, promotion of early-career researchers, patents and spin-offs, research awards and research infrastructure.

In July 2021, the Joint Science Conference (GWK) founded the Commission for Research Information in Germany (in German), or KFiD, acting on a recommendation of the Science and Humanities Council of Germany expressed in 2020 (in German). Dr Oliver Locker-Grütjen, President of Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, is also a member of this commission, which is planned to take over responsibility for the KDSF, its nationwide roll-out in Germany, and future development according to researchers’ needs.

What are the advantages of a research information system and what does HSRW aim to accomplish by introducing one?

  • Harmonising research information via a single standard (KDSF)
  • Improving quality of data
  • Ensuring transparent and valid data maintenance
  • Optimising data retrieval processes
  • Qualitative improvement of internal and external networking
  • Creating new internal synergies when procuring and using research infrastructure
  • Improving the reputation of the institution through clearer broadcasting of its expertise, know-how and research infrastructure
  • Improving research transfer with external persons and organisation in the public and industry

The general purpose of a research information system is to support researchers in acquiring, managing, preparing and presenting data produced by research. Data are entered into the system only once, but can be used repeatedly afterwards in a wide variety of places, contexts and systems. As a central tool for documentation, strategic and monitoring purposes, a RIS not only standardises, but also professionalises research reporting, internal and external networking, and the transfer of knowledge generated via research.

How will the research information system be implemented?

Implementing the KDSF standard across Germany will produce a uniform and transparent style of research reporting. The efforts of Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences to introduce a new RIS are supported by the state initiative CRIS.NRW.

CRIS.NRW is a project under the umbrella of the Digitale Hochschule NRW initiative and is funded as part of the concerted digitalisation push spearheaded by the Ministry for Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia. For technical implementation purposes, CRIS.NRW uses the software HISinONE-RES. HISinOne-RES has depicted the entire Kerndatensatz Forschung since 2018. It was developed specifically to depict research activities and will be expanded into a research management system in the near future.

The software is set to go live in Q4 2022. In-house training and workshops will be offered to familiarise future users with the layout and features of the software.
The project team welcomes any feedback as well as test users interested in trying out the system before it goes live.