The Research Information Management System (RIMS) is an integrated database system developed to support research management and provide a strategic management tool for the University and for its organisational units.
To meet the needs of strategic research management, a small team consisting of the Manager, Research Information and a Research Information Systems Analyst has created and is maintaining a centralised database system that draws core data from:
(1) Finance One: Account codes [project number & fund source code] (HERDC income and expenditure),
(2) HRMIS - Human Resources: Employee Number (staff names, work location and employment period), and
(3) Student One: Student Number (student names, affiliation, courses, postgraduate records, supervisors)
(4) ResearchOnline@JCU: Research publications repository
(5) LDAP: Staff and student user information
RIMS incorporates modules specifically designed for internal and external grant applications, research contracts & consultancies, ethical & safety aspects of research (and teaching), as well as research outputs (publications, etc.).
Setting up relationships between existing databases and linking new modules with referential integrity requires attention to:
data definitions & data consistency,
validation of new and imported data,
historical tracking of (organisational) changes,
maintenance routines and access control,
links between different database formats, and
pro-active information management: thinking ahead with respect to future requirements regarding performance measures and organisational growth.
RIMS’ primary objectives are to provide essential information on research performance to the level of individual staff (and postgraduate students), including:
grant applications & awards,
collaborative & contracted research,
commercialisation opportunities & outcomes
publications & other research outputs,
ethical and (bio)safety aspects of research,
research student supervision, and
other performance indicators and targets of research (training) management plans.
Next to integrated data storage, RIMS modules provide review screens with report and interrogation options for accredited users (e.g. administrators and submitters). It allows for interrogation and amalgamation of data by hierarchy of Organisational Units, Socio-Economic Objectives, Fields of Research Fields and Keywords. Data in RIMS is consistently stored methodically and can be interrogated in numerous ways, in anticipation of new performance indicating formulas and ad hoc surveys of granting bodies.
Training and guidance of staff responsible for database entry and informing academic staff is indispensable. Next to drafting user manuals and testing end user satisfaction, (novice) users will have to be trained in and supported while using RIMS components.