VIII Seminar of Users of University Knowledge Bases - conference summary

Aleksandra Toeplitz
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14 kwietnia 2022

A record number of submissions and inspiring speeches by guests from abroad. This is how the 8th Seminar of Users of University Knowledge Bases, held March 7-10 this year, can be summarized in a nutshell.

The seminar has been organized periodically since 2014. Since then, however, its formula has changed. Since 2018, in addition to meetings with users of university knowledge bases, it began to introduce the presentation of international experiences, which significantly expands the possibilities, sharing knowledge and discussing a variety of topics related to current challenges in science management.

The8th edition of the conference was well attended by speakers from Poland and abroad, as well as gathered a record number of participants. The organizers received nearly 500 submissions, including nearly 100 from abroad. Among those present were not only users of knowledge bases, but also representatives of project offices, evaluation teams and those responsible for conducting scientific research. The wide representation of guests from abroad, as well as the great interest from participants clearly confirms that the rank of the Seminar has significantly increased. Currently, it is the largest event in Central and Eastern Europe devoted to issues related to CRIS (Current Research Information Systems), but not only. The current edition covered a number of topics that are strategic from the point of view of the current challenges of the science system and research universities, such as the organization of evaluation processes, the visibility of universities in world rankings and the use of CRIS systems for the evaluation of scientists. The presentation of international systems to support universities, which are successfully used in Norway, Spain and Italy, among others, further strengthened the practical dimension of the entire event.

The evaluation process

One of the key points of the program turned out to be the Panel of Rectors, which was attended by Krzysztof Jóźwik - Rector of the Technical University of Lodz, Bogumiła Kaniewska - Rector of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Zygmunt Lalak - Vice Rector of the University of Warsaw for Science, Mariusz Malinowski - Rector of the University of Warsaw. Science, Mariusz Malinowski - Vice Rector of Warsaw University of Technology for Science, and Elżbieta Żądzińska - Rector of the University of Lodz. The panelists faced a very heavy topic, which is the evaluation of universities, which is the basis for granting funding by the Ministry of Science. They discussed how challenging the volatility of the evaluation criterion is for universities, and what can be done to mitigate this risk factor both in the context of setting some fixed standards, as well as the use of the Omega - PSIR system. The debate proved to be extremely interesting, as the panelists very openly shared their personal and at the same time very practical experiences of how they dealt with this challenge in the recent period of evaluation at their universities.

Visibility in the rankings

The block of speeches "Institutional CRIS - towards visibility of research information" covered topics related to the visibility of universities and other research institutions in the international arena. First of all, the mechanisms that determine the visibility of an organization, and thus affect the building of a competitive position, were discussed.

Foreign guests presented such systems as ORCID and OpenAIRE, which make it possible to identify the achievements not only of institutions, but also of individual employees. The speech on Ranking Web discussed how university systems should work to be visible in external systems, as well as what to do to avoid losing visibility and thus participation in prestigious rankings. A talk on DataCite, on the other hand, addressed the issue of accessing and storing research data. This issue is important from the point of view of the requirements of research funding bodies, which expect the data used for publication to be easily identifiable to other researchers.

Challenges for the future

Undoubtedly, an important element of each edition of the symposium is the role of the OMEGA-PSIR system, which supports Polish universities on a century of fronts, including the evaluation process or the collection of data affecting the visibility of universities in world rankings.

Since the first edition of the event, the system has been undergoing development work to adapt its capabilities to the changing needs of the scientific world. Discussions with users of the system, as well as inspiration from abroad, are becoming the flywheel of these changes. And their effectiveness is evidenced by the growing interest in the system (back in 2019 there were only a few installations, now there are already 40).

As part of the session "Omega-PSIR: development and plans", Jakub Koperwas and Mateusz Kaminski from Sages and Prof. Henryk Rybinski from the Warsaw University of Technology, presented further directions of the system's development. In particular, they discussed how the Omega-PSIR system can support universities in evaluating employees, as well as in entering and archiving research data. The third topic that was discussed in the context of developing the system's functionality was the hitherto untapped potential related to recording data on research projects and expanding the user base to include employees of design offices. The above will make it possible to collect comprehensive project information in one place, which will translate into partner search and university promotion. Such functionality could be used for all kinds of projects, including those financed by public funds and those carried out in cooperation with business.

The Seminar of Users of University Knowledge Bases is an annual event organized by the Warsaw University of Technology Main Library, the Institute of Computer Science at the Warsaw University of Technology and Sages, the company responsible for the implementation of the Omega-PSIR system at Polish universities.

Thecurrent edition was covered under media patronage by Perspektywy and Academic Forum.

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