What is Research Information Management?

Research information management (RIM) is defined by the independent bodies OCLC Research and euroCRIS as “the aggregation, curation, and utilization of information and research”. 

RIM Systems – also known as Current Research Information Systems (CRIS) in Europe, or sometimes as Faculty Information Systems (FIS) in North America – are playing an increasingly critical role in supporting institutional and organisational processes, including: 


  • Centralised collection and curation of research outputs, including publications, leadership & teaching activities, streaming media, and linked relationships with other collaborators and institutions.
  • Showcasing public profiles for all researchers, faculty, equipment and services across an organisation.
  • Reporting, insight and trend tracking across research metrics (such as citations and bibliometrics), as well as progress toward wider strategic goals (such as Sustainable Development Goals).
  • Enablement and support of Open Access workflows.
  • Streamlined workflows for assessment exercises, including Faculty Annual Reviews, the Research Excellence Framework (REF) in the UK, and the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA).
  • Measurement and proof of the wider societal impact of research carried out, and where and how funding is used.
  • Joined-up, automated integration with external academic content repositories such as Figshare, DSpace and EPrints.
  • Promotion of funding opportunities to research communities and support in managing the research funding application lifecycle.

Research Management using the Elements Platform

“Respondents were asked to indicate their level of satisfaction with their current RIM system, with options ranging from very satisfied to not at all satisfied… Elements from Symplectic has the highest satisfaction rate at 91%.”

What is Research Information Management?

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…yielding 381 responses from 44 countries, demonstrating the global nature of research information management activities. 

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.

Read more 

We are here to help you in your search for the best solution.

Research Management using the Elements Platform 1

Research Management using the Elements Platform

The development of robust research management workflows is a challenge for institutions looking to streamline their processes and promote innovation. Add to that government mandates and disparate internal systems and the process becomes daunting at best.

At Symplectic, we understand the importance of bringing efficiencies to your institution’s research management workflows and the advantage of consolidating your data to a centralised platform. The Elements Platform supports institutions in their efforts to streamline the research management process and lessen the administrative burden from your researchers, faculty and staff.

Here are a few questions
you should be asking of your research information management system:



1. How is my data collected and organised?

This is key to a research information system that will fully unlock the potential of the valuable data it contains. The Elements Platform is centred around continuous, automated capture of research output data from multiple internal and external sources. In fact, Elements offers the widest range of automated data source integration in the industry.


2. Does the system support Open Access?

The push to make research open to the public is a leading trend across the research landscape. Symplectic Elements’ world leading repository integrations can help you support and streamline your open access workflows. The system provides an efficient method for faculty to deposit their research into your institution’s public repository as well as creating a centralised hub for monitoring open access engagement and compliance.


3. Can the system help increase our institution’s profile in the research community?

Promoting your internal expertise and collaborations is a crucial part of managing institutional research information. The Elements Platform provides a web-based public profiling tool called the Discovery Module, which allows institutions to effortlessly showcase their researchers’ expertise through a modern, straightforward interface.

Hear from a customer who has implemented Discovery Module at Tufts University:

 What is Research Information Management? 1

4. How does the platform support REF preparations and submission?

At Symplectic, our REF functionality offers specialist support to capture REF-related metadata about REF1 research staff and REF2 research outputs.  Our functionality easily supports multiple preparatory exercises, enabling both researchers and reviewers to engage directly with the selection and review of outputs in-system. Elements offers functionality to support the complete REF2 cycle – from selection through to review, acceptance, and attribution. Out-of-the-box stock REF reports enable you to report on all REF content and fields for each item, including validation status, and stock REF screens and dashboards enable managers to get a clear submission overview.  A comprehensive set of import options are also available to edit content in bulk.  Submission functionality is configurable to enable you to tailor your interaction with the REF submission system to align with your management processes. The same flexible assessment tool allows for a wide range of review workflows in addition to REF.


Research Management using the Elements Platform 2


6. Does the platform support Faculty Annual Reports?

By maximising data reuse, Elements will minimise the time that faculty members spend completing annual reviews, allowing them to select data already included in the system. Supplementary information can be added directly into the Assessment Module or uploaded as attachments. Where Elements already knows key information about the individual such as their rank or position, it will not ask the faculty member to supply this information, instead these important data points will be added automatically to every submission.

Hear from Boston University who used Symplectic Elements to simplify Faculty Annual Reviews:


5. Does the system support my research funding workflows?

Our Research Funding Solution is designed to manage the full funding lifecycle: helping universities promote relevant funding opportunities, supporting researchers during the proposal development phase, streamlining internal reviews and approvals, and managing post-award activities and reporting.


Research Management using the Elements Platform 3


6. Does the system protect the data privacy of users and the organisation?

Symplectic Elements incorporates powerful, flexible privacy settings designed to allow full control over information by administrators or by faculty and researchers using the system, allowing for item-by-item control of information held within the Research Information Management System.

Learn how Privacy was key to Oklahoma State University’s selection of Symplectic Elements:


Selecting the best Research Information Management System that fully supports your institutions research activities can be challenging.

Contact us today to learn more about how Symplectic can meet your needs.

With this partnership, we have the opportunity to position ourselves as
a world leader in the development of the scholarly ecosystem.

Keith Webster, Dean of University Libraries, Carnegie Mellon

I cannot overstate how pleased we have been.
We have to have confidence to work with a partner
for at least 5 years on a project of this size.

Caleb Smith, Senior Strategy Manager for Research Intelligence & Analytics, University of Michigan

“Faculty need only spend perhaps less than an hour a year to prepare and submit their annual reports.”

Associate Dean, Carnegie Mellon University at Qatar

"Leveraging the interoperability between Symplectic Elements and DSpace has increased policy-driven institutional repository deposits by over 350%."

Ellen Phillips, Open Access Specialist, Boston University

Elements elegantly connected our multi-university system providing a
single source of truth throughout OIEx.

Tim Cain, The Ohio Innovation Exchange (OIEx)

The University measures the individual research activity of academic staff. This Measure of Research Activity (MoRA) requires the collection of publication data from faculty. Symplectic Elements supports this beautifully.

Floris van der Leest, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia

[Elements] will help to bring transparency to the richness of thought showcased within non-traditional publications, providing a more holistic representation of faculties’ scholarly work.

Caleb Smith, University of Michigan

Feedback to date has been extremely positive from all levels across the University, with individual academics and colleagues actively promoting the ease of use of the system.

Rachel Baird, Research Policy Analyst, University of Liverpool