Researchers and research institutions in Flanders have to report on a regular basis to various agencies on their research activities and/or policies. The content of these reports is often based on information about the research activities of the same (group of) researchers but they all have a different format and classification system to structure this information, resulting in a series of custom-made reports. This diversity causes an unnecessarily large administrative burden for Flemish researchers, research institutions, agencies and organisations.
The "Report on the simplification of research reporting in Flanders" (Peters and Lambrechts, 2011) analysed the reporting obligations, administrative processes and procedures of the Flemish research community in 2011 and formulated some recommendations to reduce the administrative burden for researchers. One of the recommendations stated that the efficiency of the research administration would be significantly improved if the plethora of research classifications was harmonised into a set of research classification standards. The implementation of research classification standards ensures that research information is easily interoperable and comparable, allowing research information to be reused and disseminated in a convenient and meaningful way.
In 2014, ECOOM-Hasselt was given the authority for the development and semantic management of classification schemes for research information in Flanders. Since then ECOOM-Hasselt has been working on harmonising and updating the classification schemes into standards that can be used for reporting on research information. More specifically, ECOOM-Hasselt unambiguously defined the meaning of each classification by consulting the various stakeholders and taking into account the (inter)national trends in the field of classification and reporting of research information. Altogether, these actions lead to an increased quality of research reports and contribute to the reduction of the administrative load on the research community.
The scope of ECOOM-Hasselt’s work includes the development and governance of classification schemes concerning the following topics:
- research disciplines
- funding programmes
- research output
- technology domains
Report Simplification of Research Reporting (in Dutch)