An Increasing Role for Libraries in Research Information Management

Advancing technologies, standards and networked information offer new opportunities for an institution to steward and disseminate the scholarly outputs of its researchers. Research Information Management (RIM) is the aggregation, curation and utilization of information about research and is emerging as a part of scholarly communications practice in many university libraries.

RIM intersects with many aspects of traditional library services in discovery, acquisition, dissemination and analysis of scholarly activities, and does so through the nexus with institutional data systems, faculty workflows, and institutional partners. RIM adoption offers libraries new opportunities to support institutional and researcher goals, and OCLC Research is investigating this rapidly evolving landscape, in collaboration with OCLC Research Library Partnership member institutions.

RIM is a fairly new discussion topic for libraries, particularly in the US, and nomenclature is still evolving. A few other terms are commonly used in this space, such as:

  • CRIS (Current Research Information System, commonly used in Europe)
  • RNS (Research Networking System)
  • RPS (Research Profiling System)

RIM is easily confused with a separate but similar-sounding concept, Research Data Management (RDM), which relates to the organization, management and sharing of data throughout the research lifecycle.

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Current Projects

The adoption and integration of persistent identifiers in European research information management infrastructures

Research institutions throughout Europe are engaged in research information management practices to aggregate, curate and utilize information about the research conducted at their institutions. These efforts are rapidly scaling nationally and transnationally, as advancing technologies, standards, and networked information offer new opportunities for interoperability and discoverability. OCLC Research is engaged in a joint research collaboration with LIBER (Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche – Association of European Research Libraries) to examine the research information management practices in three European national contexts—Finland, Germany and the Netherlands—with close attention to the adoption and integration of person and organizational PIDs and their role in supporting disambiguation and interoperability. Through a series of semi-structured interviews with practitioners and stakeholders within universities, national libraries and collaborative Information and Communications Technology (ICT) organizations, we are developing robust case studies of national RIM infrastructure as well as specific examples of RIM practices and PID integration. This project will complement and extend previous research institution–scale implementations of RIM in European institutions, and provide university and research library leaders with useful insights on emerging practices and challenges in research management at institutional, group, national and even transnational scales. Preliminary results will be presented at the 46th LIBER Annual Conference in Patras, Greece, 5-7 July 2017, and project results are expected in late 2017.

General RIM Information

OCLC Research Library Partnership Activities

The Research Information Management Interest Group listserv (link provides a discussion forum exclusively for RLP members. 

Through the OCLC Research Library Partnership and in collaboration with partners from EuroCRIS, enthusiastic librarians and practitioners from three continents explore, research and report on the rapidly evolving RIM landscape, building on previous RLP outputs exploring the library’s contribution to university ranking and researcher reputation.

One working group is dedicated to conducting a survey of research institutions to gauge RIM activity:

  • Pablo de Castro, EuroCRIS
  • Anna Clements, University of St. Andrews
  • Jan Fransen, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
  • Constance Malpas, OCLC Research
  • Michele Mennielli, EuroCRIS
  • Rachael Samberg, University of California-Berkeley
  • Julie Speer, Virginia Tech, consultant

And a second working group is exploring the value proposition of libraries in research information management:

  • Anna Clements, University of St. Andrews
  • Carol Feltes, Rockefeller University
  • David Groenewegen, Monash University
  • Simon Huggard, La Trobe University
  • Holly Mercer, University of Tennessee-Knoxville
  • Roxanne Missingham, Australian National University
  • Maliaca Oxnam, University of Arizona
  • Anne Rauh, Syracuse University
  • John Wright, University of Calgary

Related Work


Most recent updates: Page content: 2017-03-29