Research Information Management at US Institutions

Since 2016, OCLC Research has developed a significant body of work on Research Information Management (RIM) practices. These publications address the increasing role of the library in the RIM ecosystem, offer frequently cited definitions of RIM activities, and help inform a global view of RIM practices. Additional research is needed to understand the relatively new and rapidly developing RIM landscape in the United States.

Beginning in late 2020, a team convened by OCLC Research is examining research information management practices at US research universities and asking the core question: What are important factors in RIM adoption and use at US institutions? This project will result in an OCLC Research report, to be published in 2021.

We believe this study will be of considerable utility to the university community, as it will provide examples of how RIM practices are developing at US institutions. No similar study has been undertaken, and institutions and libraries rely heavily upon anecdotal information as well as information provided by vendors. In addition, this project will also help to guide US research institutions to a more comprehensive and strategic view of RIM practices, examining an array of use cases, systems, practices, and workflows involving the “aggregation, curation, and utilization of metadata about research activities.”[1] This is an essential step toward development of a vendor-agnostic community of practice around a unified US definition of research information management.

Throughout late 2020 and early 2021, the project team will examine the literature, review online resources, and conduct interviews. The study will document case studies of RIM practices from five US research universities:

  • Penn State University
  • Texas A&M University
  • Virginia Tech
  • UCLA (including the University of California system-wide practices)
  • University of Miami

The institutions selected for study were chosen because they represented a diversity of:

  • Known use cases
  • Products (including proprietary, open source, and homegrown solutions)
  • Scale (encompassing both institutional practices as well as those occurring at the system or state level)
  • Stakeholders

Furthermore, this group of institutions was selected not just on their own individual practices, but because they collectively provide a breadth of RIM practices for consideration, which is demonstrated in the table below.


Use case(s)

Relevant products used

Are there implementations above the institutional level?  


Penn State Public profiles, reporting, Faculty Activity Reporting, OA policy support Elsevier PureDigital Measures FAR, home-grown Researcher Metadata Database unclear Library, office of research, college of medicine

Texas A&M

Public profiles, reporting, repository integration

VIVO, Symplectic Elements, Dimensions



Library, provost, dean of faculties, academic affairs

Virginia Tech

EFARS Electronic Faculty Activity Reporting, profiles, repository integration

Symplectic Elements, VIVO (open source) with current migration to the Symplectic Elements Discovery module


Provost & library partnership

UCLA (and University of California)

FAR (Opus), public profiles, OA policy support/repository

Campus: home grown FAR system Interfolio. CDL: Elements. UCSF: Profiles RNS (open source)

CDL OA policy and publication management system. UCLA profiles is supported by UCSF CTSA

CDL, Library, Provost, CTSA units

University of Miami

Public profiles/repository, Pure profiles, FAR

Elsevier Pure, Ex Libris Esploro, Digital Measures FAR

Florida ExpertNet

Library, office of research, medical center

We encourage those interested in the project to subscribe to the OCLC Research blog, Hanging Together, for project updates.

Project Team

Rebecca Bryant, PhD, OCLC Research
Jan Fransen, University of Minnesota
Pablo de Castro
, Strathclyde University & euroCRIS
Brenna Helmstutler, Syracuse University
David Scherer, Carnegie Mellon University

[1] Bryant, Rebecca, Anna Clements, Carol Feltes, David Groenewegen, Simon Huggard, Holly Mercer, Roxanne Missingham, Maliaca Oxnam, Anne Rauh, and John Wright. 2017. Research Information Management: Defining RIM and the Library’s Role. Dublin, OH: OCLC Research., page 6.