The New Zealand Research Information System (NZRIS) will hold information about research activity in New Zealand, such as what projects are under way, how they are being funded, what resources are being used, who the experts are in particular fields and more.
NZRIS will also be a useful tool for the research, science and innovation sector. It will open up access to data, help to create common data standards, simplify administration, help to reduce the reporting burden and enable the re-use of data.
NZRIS will be for anyone to use – students, members of the public, media, government, businesses and of course the research community itself.
There will be different levels of access depending on the nature of the data – for example, commercially sensitive or private information will either be inaccessible to the public, or presented as aggregated data.
The case for NZRIS
For years the research sector has grappled with the issue of not having a central and easily accessible source of information about research activity in New Zealand.
The New Zealand Government invests around $1.8b a year in research, science and innovation, in activity that is undertaken by many different organisations and institutions.
Finding out about what is happening across the system is not easy. Answering basic questions like “how much is invested in a particular area of research?” can be surprisingly difficult, let alone answering more in-depth questions about the value of these investments or where there might be gaps.
NZRIS will solve this problem by creating a single online hub of consistent, standardised and accurate information about the sector. NZRIS is a key action from the 2016 Research, Science and Innovation Domain Plan [PDF, 1.2 MB].
Over time, NZRIS will help achieve:
- a more comprehensive picture of what research, science and innovation is happening
- greater exposure of New Zealand research, science and innovation and acknowledgement of our work
- a reduction in the reporting burden, particularly as NZRIS matures
- improvements in the collection and re-use of data across the sector
- reduction in the duplication of activities
- the ability to develop new products and services
- smarter decisions around investments
- identification in gaps in knowledge.
How NZRIS will work
NZRIS will use a technology solution that will allow data to be held in one place and presented in a way that is user friendly and manageable.
NZRIS will contain two main types of data: data about funding and other resources that enable research to happen, and data about the research activity itself. Data about funding and other resources will generally include the name of the research fund or other resource, its purpose, how it is being distributed and who it is distributed to. Research activity data will generally include the name of the project and outputs. Both types of data will include the names of organisations and individuals involved in the research.
The data will be provided by organisations that fund research and organisations that undertake research, referred to as “NZRIS data providers”. Examples of data providers include organisations that fund research, such as the Health Research Council, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Royal Society Te Apārangi, the Ministry for Primary Industries and others; and organisations that undertake research such as Crown Research Institutes, universities and other research organisations.
As NZRIS matures, it is expected that more organisations will become data providers, and that the type of data provided will also expand.
We are currently in Phase 1. This phase focuses on data from four major funders of research – the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Ministry for Primary Industries, the Royal Society Te Apārangi and the Health Research Council.
Phase 2 will involve bringing other research funding organisations on board and will begin later this year.
Phase 3 will include data from organisations that undertake research, such as Crown Research Institutes, universities and other research organisations. This phase will start later next year.