Research Analytics Using the Higher Education Research and Development Survey (HERD) to Impact Institutional Strategy

Grants and Contracts Details


The project will collect data and apply the SCOPE framework to determine efficacy of approach compared to existing methods for institutional and agency decision making. As funding opportunities become more competitive, and funding agencies hold research entities more accountable, research support professionals, such as research impact librarians, research data analysts, and vice presidents/provosts for research, need to develop new skills that employ the use of advanced data analytics, business intelligence tools, and benchmarking datasets. One source of data is the National Science Foundation’s National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics’ annual Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) Survey. While promising practices related to the effective use of data analytics and research intelligence tools to drive strategic decision making, create efficiency in operations, and promote complex research proposals were identified in a 2020 National Council of University Research Administrators-funded research project (Wolf, Hall, & Robershaw, 2021), very few national benchmarking tools exist other than the HERD survey. Intellectual Merit The overall goal of this project is to collect empirical evidence on the effective use of data in institutional decision-making, benchmarking, and best practices development, and to then conduct a workshop with practitioners in research analytics. In the first phase of the project, we propose to develop a survey instrument to measure the use and best practices in benchmarking using the HERD Survey data. These data will help informed and provide best practices to institutional leaders that inform their decision making and strategy. The second phase of the project will explore the collected survey results in more detail by hosting a workshop with participating institutions in order to review the HERD survey using the SCOPE framework, developed by the International Network of Research Management Societies’ Research Evaluation Working Group (INORMS-REG). The Scope framework will evaluate research impact using a responsible and unbiased approach. The three major research goals of this proposed project are to (1) examine and develop best practices in the use of the HERD data collection to impact the research enterprise, (2) develop sound evaluation and benchmarking methods using HERD data to align with institutional mission and values, and (3) to provide additional resources for continuous improvement of the HERD survey instrument and data collection. Broader Impacts This research project will develop promising practices in how institutions can better utilize the HERD datasets in making important institutionally focused decisions to support their research strategy, infrastructure, and create pathways for significant investment. This is critically important for both research intensive institutions and minority-serving institutions and smaller institutions that have a focus on garnering additional federal, state, and industry sponsored research. Growth in the research enterprise, through the use of strategic data-informed decision making, not only has a positive impact on faculty/researcher recruitment and retention, but also provides opportunities
Effective start/end date9/1/228/31/24


  • National Science Foundation: $324,995.00


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