Hints and tips for making your Researchfish submission

Last updated:
30 January 2023

There are ways that you can reduce the time it takes to complete a good quality submission.

1. Create and use persistent unique identifiers

To enable Researchfish to regularly harvest output information, ready for you to attribute to the relevant award:

  • acknowledge your funder and grant reference when submitting work to publishers, it will enable them to include that information in the associated metadata upon publication
  • create a record for your output in a repository, for example GitHub for code or DataCite for other kinds of outputs
  • obtain a persistent unique identifier, such as a ‘digital object identifier’ (DOI), and include it within the record.

Researchfish should then be able to import this information directly into your Researchfish account, saving you time in future submission periods.

The table shows how the use of persistent identifiers has progressively reduced the proportion of publication records that need to be entered manually, allowing researchers more time to focus on providing qualitative data on the impact of their activities.

Proportion of publications attributed to UKRI awards in Researchfish, by method used to create the Researchfish publication record
Reporting year Imported Looked-up Manual
2018 25% 56% 20%
2019 26% 56% 18%
2020 26% 58% 16%
2021 43% 46% 12%
2022 43% 44% 13%

In 2023 only 13% of publications attributed to UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) awards could not benefit from data imported by Researchfish:

  • 43% were directly harvested by Researchfish because the publishers had included the grant reference in the publication’s metadata
  • the remaining 44% were added by using lookups within Researchfish (see section 3)

Create a link between your ORCID and Researchfish accounts and make Researchfish a trusted source.

This means publication records pushed to your ORCID account by a publisher can be harvested from there by Researchfish and transferred into your Researchfish account, ready for you to attribute to the relevant award.

It will also allow you to push your Researchfish publications to your ORCID account.

How to link your ORCID and Researchfish accounts.

The benefits of using ORCID with Researchfish.

3. Use lookups within Researchfish

Use the available lookups and search functions. This saves you time by reducing the need to manually enter information into Researchfish, and significantly improves the quality of data submitted to funders.

In some outcome types ID lookups can be used to populate multiple fields, and when appropriate (for example, when entering ‘organisation names’) you can search for and re-use previously recorded data.

Sections benefitting from lookups

Sections in Researchfish which benefit include:


Lookup IDs in Crossref, PubMed, Web of Science, ISBN, NASA/ADS, INSPIRE HEP, or EThOS (UK dissertations and theses), or search author and title information.

Intellectual property

lookup worldwide patent IDs in the European Patent Office to auto-populate patent information, or search by inventor, invention title or invention abstract.

Datasets, models, software, images, audio-visual

IDs can also be used to auto-populate information held in Datacite on these outputs, or search Datacite for author output title.

Spin outs

Lookup company name to auto-populate most fields using data held by Companies House or international equivalents.

Further funding

Lookup by award reference, start year, funder, researcher name, project abstract or description from approximately 2 million grants from funders worldwide. You can also lookup names of organisations involved in further funding.

Collaborations, use of research facilities, next destinations

Lookup names of organisations involved in ‘collaborations’, ‘use of research facilities’, or when recording the ‘next destinations’ of research team members.

4. Report outcomes as they happen

Outputs and outcomes can be created and updated throughout the year.

This will help you to record outcomes accurately as they happen and make it easier for you to complete your submission within the deadline, particularly if you can include a persistent unique identifier.

Do not report outputs that have not been realised yet, for example publications that have been submitted to a publisher but haven’t yet been published. These can be reported in a future submission period.

5. Submit early within the submission period

You can complete your submission at any time during the submission period. By completing earlier on in the period you will avoid reminders from UKRI and your institution.

6. Share and reuse outcomes

Although only the award holder can submit an award, award holders can add ‘team members’ who have their own outcomes which can be attributed to multiple awards.

For example, you can add co-investigators, partners, student supervisors and anyone else involved in the project with relevant research outcomes in their own Researchfish portfolio.

YouTube: how to add team members.

7. Allow others to assist in reporting

As principal investigator you can also add ‘delegates’ who can help you prepare your submission by creating, editing and attributing the award outcomes.

Video guide: how to add delegates (YouTube).

8. Consider how you report your outcomes

UKRI uses the information that you provide for a variety of purposes including:

  • understanding how research and innovation strategy works and how we can shape this strategy
  • demonstrating effective use of public funds
  • making the case for continued investment in research and innovation
  • informing future UKRI strategy and funding priorities
  • celebrating success
  • showcasing impact.

Your data will also be published on the Gateway to Research website. With this in mind, here are some points for you to consider when you’re making your submission.

Write for a general audience

We recommend that you present the information as if writing for a general audience. However, avoid just describing a list of activities undertaken.

Remember that most of the data will be made public

Do not include anything confidential or personal information that you do not have permission to share.

This is especially important to remember when completing any free text sections.

Refer to the award’s original objectives

What information demonstrates that the project has been successful in meeting its objectives?

What has changed because of your research?

Have there been any unanticipated outcomes?

You are not required to answer every section of the question set, only sections which are relevant to the award and what it has achieved.

Consider the full variety and diversity of outputs, outcomes and impacts from your award, not just publications

For example, collaborations, further funding, policy influences and so on.

Consider all the areas of impact which have come about from your award

For example, societal, economic, health, cultural, environmental, policy, academic and so on.

Include who has benefitted from the impacts, for example, specific groups of people or organisations.

Provide examples of how your award led to outcomes and impact

This can be supported by including any relevant links to further information.

9. Further support and guidance

UKRI guidance: what and when to report.

Researchfish user guide: how to use the system.

Reporting on your project in Researchfish: key points to consider.

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