How JISC supports innovation in research and education

JISC has been inspiring innovation in the UK research and education for over 25 years and is now working on a new strategy for the future.

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Real achievements - impact and savings

  • JISC Advance delivered savings of £41.5m on an investment of £3.4m in 2008/09 ( £12 saved for every £1 spent). JISC has moved JANET from a network serving 60 universities and research councils to a high speed network connecting all universities and colleges across the UK. In May 2011 it became the first national research and education network in the world to operate at 100Gbit/s.
  • The new automated JANET Certificate Service was launched in November 2009 to help colleges and universities who use JANET to authenticate their websites and so far over 5200 server certificates have been issued, making a saving of approximately half a million pounds.
  • There are over 150 online resources available at discounted rates through JISC Collections, such as the Cambridge Journals digital archive, which was purchased in 2011 and already has 126 subscribers providing members with annual savings of over £780,000.
  • Colleges and universities also benefit from economies of scale - in 2009/10 JISC's regional support centres delivered staff development to over 10,000 event delegates.

There are huge benefits to society in making the outputs of publicly funded research publicly available, thus facilitating the exchange of knowledge. A recent report from JISC suggested that the increased impact of wider access to academic research papers could be worth approximately £170 million per year to the UK economy.

JISC's partners - at home and abroad

No other country has an organisation that is exactly the same as JISC but JISC works closely with a number of similar organisations. The closest ‘relative' to JISC is SURF in the Netherlands. Like JISC, SURF provides the network infrastructure to the college and university sectors, through SURFNET, and also like JISC, SURF funds innovation programmes to support the sectors to test and implement new approaches. SURF has also recently set up a new Shared Services company to manage some of the other services that it is putting in place. JISC and SURF work closely together; we run a number of joint projects, meet regularly to share our approaches, and are both founder members of the Knowledge Exchange, a European organisation that encourages collaboration with JISC and SURF's peer organisations in Europe. At the moment, other members are DEFF in Denmark, DFG in Germany and we are shortly to be joined by CSC in Finland. We work closely with the European Commission in the development of policy for issues such as the management of research data, Open Access publishing and Cloud Computing.

JISC also works closely with a number of North American organisations. We jointly fund some major investment programmes with the National Endowment for the Humanities in the US, for example, to jointly create collections of digital resources that are drawn from collections on each side of the Atlantic such as the online collection of Darwin's library including his annotations. We have a long term relationship with the US Coalition for Networked Information, with whom we run joint international conferences, and with a number of other funding organisations such as the National Science Foundation, Ithaka, NINCH in Canada.

In the UK, we work with a wide range of partners that have similar interests to us, for example the BBC, the British Library, the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education and the Wellcome Trust.

Each country takes its own approach to providing the kinds of things that JISC does. In some cases, the network aspect is separate to the national digital library. Advice about elearning may be separate from advice about supporting research through ICT. JISC is pretty special in that it supports a wide range of issues from one organisation. There are pros and cons with this approach but overall, it makes JISC very efficient and also able to look for ‘join up' across some of the domains that might not work together traditionally - it works with teachers, librarians, researchers and IT people. This seems a good approach.

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