JISC RIM2: HEIs need a better understanding of CERIF

This is the third in a series of posts on the JISC Research Information Management (RIM) Programme second phase synthesis, aiming to highlight common themes from the programme, as well as some of the lessons learned. Three of the four RIM2 projects discussed the need for better understanding of CERIF in institutions, a topic which still frequently arises in any discussions of CERIF. It is notable that BRUCE, the project with the least previous experience of CERIF, commented on the inital steep learning curve: ‘even staff with extensive technical experience required considerable time just to understand the CERIF schema’. CERIFy highlighted in particular the lack of expertise in CERIF mapping and therefore the need for more training and support. IRIOS also reported on the lack of CERIF awareness in the wider community: ‘In our dissemination work, and in discussions with vendors and HEIs, it is clear that most people in the sector have heard of CERIF but not what it actually is, or how it is used. MICE was the only project which did not comment on the area of CERIF awareness – they were more focused on the intellectual exercise of extending the CERIF model (to encode impact information), rather than institutional implementation issues (although they did specifically investigate the feasibility of incorporating the impact model into working institutional systems).

In order to address the need for more support for CERIF use in UK, the JISC RIM Programme and UKOLN ISC are coordinating a range of support initiatives. Among these is a new CERIF national coordinator post, based at UKOLN. A CERIF Tutorial and UK Data Surgery was organised in Bath in February 2012, together with euroCRIS task group meetings. A range of CERIF-related resources is provided, including the recent UK CERIF adoption study. UKOLN ISC is also working with the euroCRIS Best Practice Task Group to produce supporting materials on CERIF use. These are just some examples of activities. In parallel, the UK user groups for the individual CRIS platforms (Pure, CONVERIS and Symplectic Elements) have grown rapidly in the last 18 months (as a result of much procurement) and provide valuable CERIF support for institutional users.

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