As at least one of you has noted in blog-land, and many others have asked us directly about, the new government-wide standard research project reporting system involves more than a slight departure from previous practice for many PIs.
For those of you who haven’t ventured into the new report system yet, a super-brief synopsis and heads-up via the Research.gov team: “The format for project reporting has been changed to adhere to a new government wide mandated reporting standard called the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR). This reporting standard was created so that federally-funded research grant programs receive progress reporting information in a consistent and structured format. This format enables NSF to conduct in-depth analysis on its own data. This helps NSF evaluate and assess the outcomes from the research it funds.
We realize that the reporting format is different than in the past. To assist PIs with the new format, NSF has created a template in Word that can be found on the Research.gov website (http://www.research.gov/common/attachment/Desktop/NSFProjectReportTemplate.docx), that can be used to write up all of the report sections so that they may be copy/pasted into the project report more easily.”
For those of you who have already been in the system, below is an excerpt of an announcement from the Research.gov team listing improvements to the project reporting system that should make their way into the system in August. They will be posting a “coming soon” advisory on Research.gov shortly, and sending out communications to the research administration communities. The changes are expected to address:
- “Issues related to:
- Confusion over report completeness. Research.gov will be modified to allow Principal Investigators (PIs) to click on a “check report completeness” link so they can easily figure out which section(s) of the project report is incomplete.
- Frustrations with the character counter in the project report text boxes. Research.gov will be modified so that the character count will only count visible characters.
- Confusion over final reports. Per NSF policy, final reports are only considered as the last annual report and are not cumulative. This is an existing policy and the Policy Office is working with the Division of Information Systems (DIS) to make this clearer to awardees.
- Currently, Research.gov prevents PIs from entering more than 127 products and/or participants. This defect will be fixed so that PIs may enter an unlimited number of products and/or participants to project reports.
- Currently Research.gov does not allow PIs to delete a participant if they inadvertently label a participant a PI or a co-PI. Later this summer, the system will no longer allow PIs to add new participants with the PI or co-PI role. The system already pre-populates the report with the PI and co-PIs based on the information from the award. This change will eliminate errors from occurring.
- Currently, Research.gov requires PIs to enter a publication day, month, and year on all publications, regardless of their status. Later this summer, the system will change so that:
- Publications listed as “published” will require the year only.
- Publications listed as “under review, awaiting publication, submitted, accepted, or other” will not require any date.
- Finally, Research.gov will no longer require PIs to enter volume or page number.
We appreciate all feedback, from both awardees and NSF staff, so we can continue to improve Research.gov in the future. When NSF receives feedback, we review it and take the following actions:
- Document enhancement requests and consider them for a future release.
- For PIs with issues preventing them from completing project reports, the Research.gov Help Desk contacts them to resolve them.
Thank you again for your involvement throughout the transition of project reporting to Research.gov. We look forward to continuing to serve the research community in the future.”