Please note: This experimental research project has concluded.
The research prototype application is no longer supported or maintained by OCLC services, and information on this page is provided for historical purposes only. Some portion of this content may be out-of-date and include broken links. Please visit the OCLC Research website to learn more about our current research.

Support for Research Workflows


OCLC Research and the UK's Research Information Network (RIN) conducted a collaborative project to examine the use and provision of information-related tools and services to researchers throughout the lifecycle of the research process. The goal of the project was to discover researchers' needs and desires in a variety of disciplines in UK and US universities.

Companion reports from OCLC Research and the RIN provide librarians, information professionals, research support staff, university administrators and research funders with a clear and detailed set of conclusions and recommendations about how they might develop their services to meet the needs and aspirations of researchers. The essay that synthesizes results of both projects provides a trans-Atlantic comparison of similarities and differences in national research institutions.

A meta-analysis of the demand side will set the companion studies and the synthetic essay in the context of recent international user studies of research lifecycles and research information services. This will appear as a series of blog posts on

The RIN contracted with the Centre for Information Behaviour and Evaluation in Research (CIBER) to produce a report based on findings of their research in the U.K.; Susan Kroll and Rick Forsman produced a report for OCLC Research based on research findings the U.S.




The combined OCLC Research and RIN reports document the nature and scope of tools and services that researchers currently use, how effective these are in meeting researchers' needs, and whether there are unmet needs. Our analysis of case studies identifies intersections and gaps among services provided by various on-campus entities, consortia and commercial endeavours. Both reports provide examples of good practice, recommend areas where new practice might emerge, and identify possible areas and scope for collaboration within and between institutions. Comparing national academic practices will provide evidence and encourage coordination to meet the needs of academic research internationally.



The research life cycle encompasses a wide range of activities from the development of the investigative hypothesis through to final dissemination and evaluation. A number of opportunities exist to support researchers during the process. Examples of these include services to:

  • alert researchers to new and forthcoming grant opportunities from a range of funding bodies in their field.
  • identify research of potential commercial value to the university and start the processes to commercialise where appropriate.
  • help investigators locate potential collaborators and make their own expertise known.
  • enable collaborative management of documents and analysis of data.
  • improve their information retrieval and management skills.
  • provide tools for analysis of large text aggregations.
  • help manage citations.
  • store, curate and preserve researchers' data sets.
  • help find the most effective manner and vehicle in which to publish.
  • provide advice in protecting intellectual property rights.
  • support tenure and promotion, such as a service that tracks how often a researcher's articles have been cited, where and by whom.
  • inform researchers how they rate within their field (i.e. their indexes according to various measures based on citation analysis).
  • manage and preserve preprints, publications and post-prints.





Report: A Slice of Research Life: Information Support for Research in the United States. (.pdf).

Report: Supporting Research: Environments, Administration and Libraries.


More Information


Related Work:

This activity is a part of the Research Information Management Theme, and is related to the following activities:


Most recent updates: Page content: 2011-11-17


Jennifer Schaffner

Team Members

Ricky Erway