Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Date of this Version


Document Type



An ERAI Report. March 2016


Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License


The rising strategic importance of Current Research Information Systems (CRISs) and Institutional Repositories (IRs) for higher education and research institutions relates to the need to foster research and innovation and to provide a faster and broader technology transfer to industry and society. These are critical factors for global competitiveness, and the increasing competition among institutions to increase and disseminate excellence in research is another area where these systems provide a key contribution. Additional important elements with a strong impact on such strategic evolution are the new policies on Open Access, National Research Assessment and Research Funding. It is indeed from 2003 onwards that the increase in the number of repositories becomes apparent, together with the rise of the Open Access movement, as well as from 2010 on when new policies started to be implemented which affected the adoption of CRIS systems: %83 of the respondents stated that they are following Open Access policies within their own institutions. Today we see CRISs acting as repositories, repositories with extended data models, a wide range of interoperability features between co-existing CRISs and repositories and even a new species in the ecosystem that claims to be both a repository and a CRIS. The scope of this EUNIS and euroCRIS joint initiative, the CRIS/IR survey, was to collect information on CRIS and IR technological solutions that support Research and to analyse their links to other systems used at Higher Education Institutions: how they interoperate, which data and metadata are made available and how these are being used. The CRIS/IR survey, which was launched in April 2015, was based on a previous initiative to collect information on the CRIS and IR infrastructure available in Portugal. The survey was distributed by EUNIS and euroCRIS via a number of national and international mailing lists and was open until mid-September 2015. There was wide participation from the community, and we collected 84 full responses from 20 different countries. The two main questions the Survey tried to answer were: are CRISs gradually replacing IRs? Are the two systems overlapping in their functionalities? From the results we have collected, both questions seem to get a negative answer. The two systems are clearly complementary: while IRs are the preferred choice for managing research publications and dissertations and thesis, CRISs are regularly chosen for managing the institutional research information as a whole including metadata for research papers. Through the analysis of the collected results we can observe that %62 of the surveyed institutions have both a CRIS and an IR and that %18 of them use the same software application. From the answers obtained, it is also clear that the range of databases, programming languages and frameworks used is very wide, with Oracle and MySQL as preferred databases and Java as the most frequently chosen programming language CRIS systems hold a large variety of contents, the most common being metadata for research publications (%81), projects (%76) and reporting features (%75). Not surprisingly IRs mainly store both metadata and full-text for publications (%96) and dissertations and thesis (%86). Among the available repository solutions, DSpace is the most frequently adopted one, being used in %56 of the cases.

When analysing the interoperability aspects and the links between CRISs, IRs and external systems we noticed that: (i) almost %65 of the institutions have linked their CRIS and their IR, so both platforms are perceived to be closely related; (ii) when it comes to interoperability with legacy systems such as Finance and HR, CRISs are the preferred system to link to because of the data and information contained in them; (iii) there is still very little integration between Learning Management Systems and either CRISs or IRs. The analysis also showed that the most frequently adopted standards and protocols are the OAI-PMH protocol (%50), the CERIF format (%41) and ORCID (%32). Another important aspect the survey collected information on was the management of CRISs systems. This will usually vary from one institution to the next, but we observed that Libraries and the Research & Innovation or Research & Development units have a prominent role on the different aspects of CRIS management. A key conclusion of the replies we have collected to the survey is that both CRISs and IRs are considered valuable tools to support Institutions in the research assessment exercises for both university and author evaluation.