Common Questions about Researchfish

What is Researchfish?

Researchfish is a web-based system, used by funders, research institutions and researchers to collect information on research activities. On an annual basis, funded researchers and students are asked to submit data about their outputs, outcomes and impacts.

If you are a principal investigator, of an UKRI (formerly RCUK), CSO, NIHR or medical charities grant, you will receive an email from your funder, or Researchfish, inviting you to make a return. Annual submissions have to be made for all live grants, and for completed grants for at least five years after the end date.

If you are a research student, funded by a UK research council, you will also receive an email from your funder inviting you to make a Researchfish submission. Submissions will be requested each year from the 3rd year of funding, during the lifetime of the award, and usually for up to three years after the end of the award.

How do I access Researchfish?

You can log on to Researchfish here: www.researchfish.com. You will have received login details for your account from your funding body.

For log in support, forgotten passwords and any other technical support with Researchfish, please contact using the web form on www.researchfish.com or the live chat functionality on the website.

There are short webinars (lasting around 10 mins) on the Researchfish website to help you find out how to use the system:  https://www.researchfish.com/helpwiz

Why do funders want this information?

Funders have a responsibility to demonstrate the value and impact of their investment in research. They use the information collected on the outputs, outcomes and impact of their funded projects to report to both the Government and the public, enabling them to make the strongest possible case for continued substantial public investment in research. The information submitted is also used to shape future funding opportunities, feed into strategic planning, and generate case studies. Much of the data is made public via the Gateway to Research (GtR), giving greater exposure to your work.

Does this apply to me?

If you are funded by a public or charitable funder that uses Researchfish then, under the terms and conditions of funding, it is compulsory to complete the funders annual reporting through the Researchfish system. If you do not comply with these requirements the UK Research Councils will apply sanctions on Principal Investigators, which includes preventing you from applying for further grants or withholding funding for live projects.

Submission of research outcomes, for most funders, is required each year between February and March. Some funders use alternative submission dates, your funder should contact you directly when the submission period opens. Your Researchfish landing page also shows all reporting periods.

Annual submissions have to be made for all live grants, and for five years after their completion.  This includes ‘nil returns’ where no outcomes can be reported.

My grant has only just started – do I have to do this?

Yes, even if a grant has only been live for a matter of days or weeks, the PI will be expected to submit a ‘nil’ return.

My grant completed some time ago and I do not expect any more outputs – do I have to do this?

Funders normally expect reporting for some time after the grant has completed. 

RCUK (now UKRI) require reports for each year the grant is live and at least five years after completion.  For larger and more complex grants the reporting period may be longer than that. 

RCUK (now UKRI) funded students will be required to report for three years after completion of studies.

What happens if I don't submit to researchfish?

There are now sanctions for noncompliance with Researchfish. The policy is detailed here and non-compliant researchers will lose eligibility to apply for further awards from any Research Council and any current awards will have their payments withheld until such time as the PI becomes compliant. This does not apply to students, though overall institutional compliance may be considered in making future doctoral training awards. 

When are new awards uploaded into Researchfish?

New grants are uploaded to Researchfish each September.  Please check the grant information carefully when it appears as PIs are responsible to notify any changes through JE-S.   Changes of PI  or e-mail address  have to be notified by November and the data in Researchfish is refreshed in December following those changes.

How can I amend Award Information in Researchfish?

Details of existing awards on Researchfish are refreshed annually with data taken from Je-S. Details of new grants are also taken from this source. Student award details are those submitted by your research organisation through Je-S Student Details.  

What will Researchfish data be used for?

The data entered into Researchfish is used by funders to for many purposes –e.g.  to establish a return on their investment or to highlight academic and non-academic impact of research funded by them. 

UKRI use the information to populate the public website Gateway to Research (http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk/ ), other funders use it to showcase impacts and case studies on websites and in their publications.  The list of publications entered into Researchfish is also used by UKRI and Wellcome to monitor compliance with open access requirements. For UKRI open access requirements please see our Open Access pages

Data from Researchfish returns has been used in a number of ways, since the first submission periods, an example of the use of this data can be seen at the AMRC making a difference: impact report 2017

Does Researchfish integrate with, or harvest information from, any other systems?
  • ORCID integration: Researchfish integrates with ORCID profiles.  Researchers who have an ORCID profile can push and pull information between ORCID and Researchfish.  More information can be found here

  • Integration with Institutional Systems: A pilot with 31 research organisations carried out at the start of 2015 identified around 3,000 additional publications added to University CRIS systems that could be transferred to Researchfish. PIs on those awards received a communication letting them know how many publications had been added as a result of the details being extracted from their papers and the pilot work with Universities. A spreadsheet upload process was developed from the Pilot study and is available for use by subscribing institutions. Researchfish are continuing to work towards improving transfer of data from CRIS systems, the use of ORCID profiles to exchange data, funding attribution on manuscript submission, and funding attribution in Research Council supported PhD theses.

  • Upload of Publication Data: As part of the terms and conditions of receiving funding from Research Councils, publications must acknowledge their Research Council support, including the award reference number. Where funding award acknowledgement is included in the publication, and the metadata infrastructure exists, details of such publications will be imported into Researchfish automatically, without manual input.  Over the last few years several thousand publications compliant with MRC’s publication attribution and open access policy have been directly uploaded into Researchfish in this way. Following work to expand this approach around 18,000 additional publications acknowledging funding across all seven Research Councils have been identified in bibliographic databases and continue to be added into Researchfish. 

Researchfish reporting for 2020

The main Researchfish reporting period will run from 04 February - 14 Mar 2019. 

If you are a principal investigator, of a UKRI (formerly RCUK), CSO, NIHR, Wellcome, or medical charities grant, you should have received an email from your funder, or Researchfish, inviting you to make a return.  Annual submissions have to be made for all live grants, and for completed grants for at least five years after the end date. 

Research students with studentships which have been active for more than two years will be asked to report through Researchfish. Students will also be asked to report for at least three years after funding has finished.

Compliance with Researchfish reporting is compulsory under the terms and conditions of funding. It is vital that all PIs respond within the specified timeframe.  Where PIs fail to complete their return within the deadline, funders may impose sanctions on individuals.

How can the University help?

Help with researchfish returns and Data entry

The University hosts hundreds of live and completed grants on Researchsfish for which reporting is required.  Reporting these outcomes is the responsibility of each PI, and Researchfish does not envisage a role for central research offices in entering data and completing the returns.

Researchfish does not automatically grant administrators access to PI accounts.  While administrative staff can check who has responded, they are not able to enter or amend any data in individual accounts, unless they are given delegate status.  We strongly encourage all PIs to invite the generic e-mail address researchreporting@abdn.ac.uk as a delegate on their account (User name Research Support; e-mail:  researchreporting@abdn.ac.uk).  This will allow a pool of administrators access and will enable us to validate entries and help with the submission as required.  researchreporting@abdn.ac.uk can also be contacted if you require further information. 

Please note that, if you are using a delegate, submission can only be made from the PI account.

What about Technical help and support?

Any questions about technical issues and access to accounts should be addressed to Researchfish themselves.  Questions can be asked by using the webform on www.researchfish.com or the live chat functionality on the website.

How can I find out more?

If you have any questions about entering your publications on Researchfish you can contact Marlis Barraclough or Nykohla Strong on researchreporting@abdn.ac.uk .  Questions about entering impact and outcomes other than publications can be addressed to your Business Development Officer at researchreporting@abdn.ac.uk .