1. The UK has a high international reputation for the quality of the research carried out by its Universities & Institutes.
“The UK’s share of world citations is about 12% and is second highest to the USA.” source: PSA target metrics for the UK research base March 2007
2. At present there does not seem to be a CRIS (Current Research Information System) covering research in UK Universities and Research Institutes. There used to be Current Research in Britain (CRIB) but it hasn’t been published since the late 90s. Obviously, the information is there but it is spread across thousands of academic web sites and in the databases of the major funding organisations.
3. The core of a CRIS is information about Projects, Units, People. What’s the research, where is it, who’s leading it?
4. Adverts for scientific posts in UK Universities and Research Institutes (post docs, PHDs etc.) usually contain this information. In essence they are saying lead researcher X in unit Y has convinced a funding committee that idea Z is worth supporting and now they need someone to help them.
5. The success of Jobs.Ac.UK (JAC) has made it, in effect, an aggregator for this CRIS information for most UK University & Institute research posts & studentships. Other sources e.g. FindaPhd and Nature Jobs supplement JAC in covering the UK research sector.
6. In mid 2001 I started to download and save the JAC adverts for what I think of as the “hard sciences” . I now have about 60,000 of these posts saved and counting.
I gather information for the following sectors of UK research from JAC :
Biological Sciences,Clinical Psychology
Engineering & Technology
Health & Medical,Health & Social Psychology
Physical Sciences,Mathematics,Computer Science
(HESA classification scheme)
Inside these sectors I filter for research orientated posts, excluding “academic” posts e.g. Chair, Professor, Lecturer, Teaching fellow etc. Also excluded are some general support posts e.g business liaison managers, general technicians, IT support etc.
As well as the JAC adverts, where possible I’m also capturing the further details for these jobs from the university web sites. Sometimes these duplicate the JAC adverts but often they contain further information about project background, objectives, departmental/unit background etc.
7. It’s time I did something to get that information out of my local PC and onto the web. I don’t know whether it will be useful to people. I hope so, but I won’t know unless I try.
8. At June 2009 this is a project not a finished product.
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