An Increasing Role for Libraries in Research Information Management

Research information management (RIM), also often called Current Research Information Systems (CRISs), is the aggregation, curation, and utilization of metadata about research activities. Institutional RIM adoption, in tandem with activities by publishers, funders, and libraries, can help to reliably connect a complex scholarly communications landscape of researchers, affiliations, publications, datasets, grants, projects, and their persistent identifiers. Libraries today are playing a larger role in research information management at institutions worldwide and can offer considerable expertise to support publications harvesting, discoverability, training and support for researchers, and stewardship of the scholarly record.

OCLC Research recognizes the growing importance of RIM to research libraries, and is conducting research on behalf of the library community in order to better understand library roles and institutional needs in this rapidly changing ecosystem.

RIM is distinct from research data management (RDM), a similar-sounding term that is used to describe the processes researchers and institutions use for organizing, securing, archiving, and sharing research data throughout the research lifecycle. Learn more about OCLC Research’s active RDM Research agenda.

Practices and Patterns in Research Information Management

Practices and Patterns in Research Information Management: Findings from a Global Survey

In order to examine how research institutions worldwide are applying research information management (RIM) practices, OCLC Research partnered with euroCRIS to conduct a web-based survey that was administered from October 2017 through February 2018, yielding 381 responses from 44 countries, demonstrating the global nature of research information management activities. A working group comprised of subject matter experts in RIM practices representing both OCLC Research and euroCRIS worked collaboratively to synthesize the data and to write the report Practices and Patterns in Research Information Management: Findings from a Global Survey.

The report details the complexity of RIM practices and examines how commercial and open-source platforms are becoming widely implemented across regions, coexisting with a large number of region-specific solutions as well as locally developed systems. It also considers the urgent need for system-to-system interoperability—with both internal and external systems—and demonstrates how the use of identifiers, standards, and protocols are perceived as most valuable when they can also facilitate interoperability.

The growing need for improved interoperability between managing open access workflows and the curation of institutional research outputs metadata is giving rise to the increasing functional merging of RIM systems and institutional repositories and further reinforcing the need for complex, cross-stakeholder teams to support institutional RIM activities, commonly featuring research offices, and increasingly, the library.

OCLC Research and euroCRIS plan to repeat this survey in the future, developing longitudinal data and knowledge about evolving RIM practices in order to help inform the global research community.

Read the report.

Research Information Management: Defining RIM and the Library’s Role

Position Paper: Research Information Management: Defining RIM and the Library’s Role

This year OCLC Research has been working closely with a working group of librarians and practitioners from OCLC Research Library Partnership institutions on three continents to develop an international framework for understanding RIM practices and to articulate the value proposition of libraries within this space.

These conversations have resulted in a position paper titled Research Information Management: Defining RIM and the Library’s Role. This publication addresses two-fold goals:

  1. To define research information management and to offer models to explain metadata sources, uses, and institutional stakeholders.
  2. To articulate the specific value proposition of libraries within research information management.


  • Rebecca Bryant, OCLC Research
  • 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

Convenience and Compliance: Case Studies on Persistent Identifiers in European Research Information Management

This year OCLC Research has engaged in a joint research collaboration with LIBER (Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche – Association of European Research Libraries) to examine RIM practices in three European national contexts—Finland, Germany and the Netherlands—with close attention to the adoption and integration of person and organizational persistent identifiers (PIDs) and their role in supporting disambiguation, interoperability, and scaling. Through a series of semi-structured interviews with practitioners and stakeholders within universities, national libraries and collaborative Information and Communications Technology (ICT) organizations, the research team has developed robust case studies of national RIM infrastructures as well as specific examples of RIM practices and PID integration. This project complements and extends previous research and provides research managers and library leaders with useful insights on emerging practices and challenges in research management at institutional, group, and national scales.

Project Lead

Rebecca Bryant, Senior Program Officer


OCLC Research Library Partnership Activities

OCLC Research collaborates with librarians from OCLC Research Library Partnership member institutions to learn, share, and collectively conduct research. The Research Support listserv provides a discussion forum exclusively for RLP members. Interested in joining us? Learn more.