In one sentence, there is no other system that covers the breadth of impact areas to give a well-developed, defined and constantly evolving view of impact as determined by over 130 members across the globe. But there's more to it than that...
Researchfish occupies a unique place in the assessment of research impact. Conceived by the MRC in 2007 we have evolved over the last 10 years to ensure our goal to make the reporting process for researchers is as simple and straightforward as possible. We have built connections into over 750 and counting different data repositories to harvest as much information as possible. We are used by all the Research Councils in the UK, most of the other major UK research funders and are rapidly expanding into other international locations. Researchfish is currently tracking and helping organisations report on £45 Billion of research funding.
The 15 categories that the researchers are asked to report against have also evolved to ensure they are relevant. This is under constant review from a group of Researchfish users (with all members invited to participate) and these are now considered the benchmark for understanding outputs, outcomes and impacts.
No other system covers the breadth of impact areas that Researchfish does to give what is now a well-developed, defined and evolving view of impact as determined by our 130 members across the globe. Many organisations still rely on interim or end of grant reporting that misses out on much of the impact as this occurs after the award has concluded but also presents data in a way that is difficult in interpret, interrogate and draw any worthwhile information from. Many organisations look no further than publications, intellectual property and some engagement activity to try to measure impact.
Researchfish has a set of APIs to allow interoperability with several systems and presents the collected data allowing you to interpret it in a way that best suits your requirements. This can be using the in-system reporting function or an exported csv file or you can have your own instance of SQL to enable your organisation to populate your own systems and databases.
One area we anticipate there being rapid growth in is collaboration around impact data. We are starting to see a collaborative approach to tracking impact develop. Researchfish has worked with its members to agree the initial terms for sharing impact data from and through the Researchfish system. As more organisations start to build an evidence base and use impact metrics this will grow. This will only deliver value if organisations are using the same evidence base and metrics. The Researchfish questions are standardised and if they are used by other organisations, collaboration around impact will grow, if not then each organisation will be an island.