Putting research at the fingertips of government

We’ve started a project to investigate how the government’s vast collection of research could be made more accessible to civil servants — to support evidence-based policy making…

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

Each year the UK government commissions around £2.5bn of original research. This produces a vast collection of reports containing insights that are vital to developing policy in an evidence-based way.

Some reports are marked for public release and published on Gov.UK. Many others must remain confidential to some degree and can only be used inside government. At the moment, those reports are all captured, stored and managed in very different ways — making it hard for them to be used beyond their originally-commissioned purpose.

Yet, this is a goldmine of deep insights into an incredibly broad range of topics. What would be the impact if civil servants had easier access to as many of the government’s vast archive of research reports as possible? How could researchers themselves benefit from better access to pre-existing work?

The Cabinet Office’s Better Information For Better Government Team has hired us to undertake a discovery — a piece of work to explore the potential problems, opportunities, and the underlying user needs.

To do this we’re going to spend the next few weeks meeting researchers and policy professionals across Government to listen to how they commission, publish, and use research reports at the moment, and how they wish they could do it.

At this stage we’re just exploring the problems to see what user needs exist, for any future potential solution to serve. So it’s too early to say what might result — that’s what we’ll find out from listening to users in the next few weeks.

This week we’ve been identifying potential user groups and making contact, as well as developing our research questions. We’ll blog more about our approach and findings in the coming weeks.

Would you like to be part of this research? We’re keen to hear from anyone in the UK government who commissions, produces, manages or uses research reports. We’d like to hear about what you do, your current workflows, and how you’d ideally like to improve that.

Take part in our user research

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