Skip to main content

What is a CRIS?

A current research information system (CRIS) is a database or other information system to store, manage and exchange contextual metadata of research activity at a research-performing organisation.

Motivation for Portfolio & Showroom

With the data revolution artists and art universities have come to submit to external evaluation criteria and metrics, such as the impact factor. Criteria which mostly originated from other scientific contexts. To the disadvantage of art universities, common activities for artistic researchers such as exhibitions, performances, concerts, etc. are ignored by common CRIS, or, even if they are captured, aren’t weighted as highly by algorithms governing the system, which determine the hierarchy and value of the research entered.

After an intensive survey of existing CRIS, the University of Applied Arts Vienna and other project partners decided to endeavour to promote a CRIS that meets the requirements of an art university, is freely available and open source and also ensures that the data belongs to those who produce it. The Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research approved the application and work on the development of this new and innovative CRIS has been possible since 2017.

It’s political

In the context of the focus on publishing as the “highest rated” form of academic output, it is understandable that the most widely used research information systems are often owned by publishing conglomerates. These companies publish scientific, technical and medical material, and also provide so-called “decision-making tools” for universities and research funding agencies. However, publications are of course but a small part of the output of arts universities.

Many of these current research information systems are offered as Software as a Service (SaaS), the data is accordingly in the so-called cloud, so for the users of this software it is unclear where their data is and who has access to it. This means that the term “private” often has a different meaning when the system simultaneously shows which user groups can also view this “private” data.

With the development of P&S, we are also positioning ourselves in a growing field of interdisciplinary experts who criticise the exclusive reliance on metrics in art and science (see DORA–San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment, among others). P & S therefore refrains from quantifying the respective artistic and scientific work and leaves it to the users to emphasise what they consider relevant.

A radically new approach

In contrast to other CRIS available, Portfolio & Showroom is conceived and designed from a user perspective to complement the concerns and work-flow of art university researchers and students. This stands in stark contrast to the other systems designed and conceived to serve institutional needs.

The system is split into two applications to give users better control and oversight of their research data. Portfolio acts as a private repository, whilst Showroom is the publicly visible profile, comprising published entries from Portfolio. Features of Showroom such as a Showcase area and the ability to prioritise different outputs on an academic CV, allows the users greater flexibility to curate and digitally exhibit their research as they wish to present it.

Plans and Roadmap

In 2017 development on Portfolio & Showroom began. Portfolio launched in November 2019. Showroom was launched in May 2022. For our future releases see: