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Current Research Information System (CRIS)

Installation of a Current Research Information System (CRIS) at Justus Liebig University Giessen

Justus Liebig University Giessen (JLU), in cooperation with six other Hessian partner universities as well as with support from the Hessian Ministry of Higher Education, Research, and the Arts (HMWK), is introducing a current research information system (CRIS).

What information is research information?

Research information is the collective metadata from research-related processes covering the following:

  • Research projects
  • Publications and patents
  • Doctorates and post-doctorate qualifications
  • Prizes and awards
  • Research priorities and collaborations
  • Committee activities
  • Other academic activities


What is a CRIS for?


The functionality of integrated current research information systems is based on the fundamental idea "Record the data once, use it repeatedly."

Up until now, even at JLU, information on academic activities is gathered and processed in a decentralized manner, resulting in data inventories of heterogeneous quality and currency, sometimes in incompatible formats. Data are gathered multiple times and frequently require elaborate manual reworking in order to be of further use. In the future, information on research projects, publications, patents, doctorates, conferences, committee activities, and other academic activities from various databases (e.g. SAP) and other digital information sources (e.g. literature management programs) will be structurally brought together and linked with each other within JLU's own CRIS. Another goal is to gather relevant data that was previously not stored digitally (or inadequately done so). The CRIS will serve here not only as a central database but will also be implemented as a work tool. For research-related work processes such as applying for external funding, developing and submitting project applications, reports and the like, information will soon be gathered and stored where it is permanently retrievable. The result will be a system that specifically makes the consolidated information available only to personnel within the organization that are authorized to view it. If need be, certain information from the CRIS can be integrated directly into public websites.

Example FISClick on picture to enlarge

Source: © AVEDAS AG

In the following ways, a CRIS supports the path to professionalized research information management:

  • Simplifies data gathering thanks to the ability to absorb data from other systems and gather new relevant data from research-related work procedures.
  • Harmonizes research-related data by integrating national and international standardization processes (core data set researchCERIF data model).
  • Improves the overview of data quality thanks to long-term data storage in only one place instead of many.
  • Supports work in the public sector for researchers, institutes, faculties, and the entire university via the ability to continuously use the data.


Who can see the data in the CRIS?

Integrated current research information systems have detailed systems for roles and rights as well as various visibility levels for the gathered data. During the project, a concept for roles and rights will be developed at JLU, taking into consideration relevant regulations on data and copyright protection.


The integrated current research information system Converis

Converis is the integrated current research information system from the German software company AVEDAS (now part of Thomson Reuters). The system is currently being used at nearly 50 universities, universities of applied sciences (UAS), research institutions, and research funding organizations across Europe, for example the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the University of Münster, and the European Research Council (ERC). The University of Kassel has also been using Converis for a few years now.

Converis is based on the standard data model CERIF (Common European Research Information Format), recognized across Europe and recently worldwide, and is continually being updated to accommodate new demands. Furthermore, the provider is tied to the project for specifying the requirements of a core data set for research, which was published by the German Council of Science and Humanities in the form of an even more specific Recommendation in January 2013.


Background and current planning of the joint project in the Hessian CRIS Network

At the beginning of 2013 under the guidance and leadership of Justus Liebig University Giessen, a network of Hessian universities joined together (HeFIS Network) with the goal of coordinating the procurement, implementation, use, and further development of current research information systems. This project is supported by the Hessian Ministry of Higher Education, Research, and the Arts (HMWK).

HeFIS Network

Currently, the HeFIS Network together with the service provider are setting up the exact project plan. The introduction of the systems in the participating locations is being staggered in order to create the greatest possible synergy effect. JLU will serve as the pilot location for the universities, and Fulda will represent the universities of applied sciences.


Planning the local project at JLU

At JLU the implementation project resides with the Research Office and will be conducted under the leadership of the Vice President for Research and Academic Career Development.

Implementing a CRIS can only be successfully completed by working together with all interest groups and taking into consideration local JLU-specific conditions. For this reason, the representatives of all stakeholder groups from research, faculty and academic management, the university library, IT center, and the central administration are invited to participate from the start.

The following tentative and generic project plan currently applies for the pilot locations Giessen and Fulda:

Table FIS

HeFIS 2.0 Network

Since the end of 2015, three more institutions have joined the HeFIS network in addition to the original ones: Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main and the Technical University and University of Applied Sciences in Darmstadt. At that point, a second project phase began, and a coordinated basis could be established Hessen-wide in order to provide aggregated information from each version of the core dataset for research (KDSF) on research activities. Through this, an innovative structure has been created and will be continued in a stable manner in the medium term, which will allow maximal synergistic effects.

Further planning in the second project phase

  • Initial introduction at the University of Applied Sciences and Technical University in Darmstadt and at the Goethe University in Frankfurt (starting at the end of 2015)
  • Formalizing the internal and external requirements for reporting on research in a timely manner that also meets future requirements
  • Analyzing the current situation
  • Transferring the solution into testing operations
  • Further developing the current research information system and the competency network


Additional information and links