Sharing of data and research materials among researchers is a desirable practice which is often hampered by practical challenges.
Three researchers from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) have now innovated an interactive web based portal that has multiple search criteria properties to enhance information sharing and retrieval.
With the input of a key research word into the system, the portal provides a central messaging center, through which various news and notifications can be passed and a discussion board through which researchers can engage in a conversation.
The web-based system known as Kenya Research Information System (KRIS) was innovated by Dr. Petronilla Muthoni with the assistance of Damaris Waema and Robert Kibet to improve visibility of research done in Kenya.
During a virtual workshop organized by the Directorate of Research and Innovation to unveil the innovation on Friday, February 12, 2021, Dr. Muthoni said, the system was inspired by the need to provide a platform that brings together researchers from institutions of higher learning and major research institutes in Kenya.
While taking the participants through the functionality of KRIS, accessible at http://kris.jkuat.ac.ke/ Dr. Muthoni explained that the system will encourage the circulation of research data and research material through an interactive web-based portal.
“Researchers will be able to create their profiles including areas of interest and contact details, current or previous information on research projects, and upload or create links to publications and relevant project outputs,” said Dr. Muthoni.
The researcher further dispelled fears of data insecurity by explaining that KRIS is a fully fledged web-based system that provides mechanisms for privatization of data which is deemed sensitive by the research owner.
If a researcher wishes to borrow specific data which has been barred, Dr. Muthoni expounded, the research owner will receive notifications of the request, both on email and on his dashboard and can either approve or deny the request.
Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Research, Production and Extension, Prof. Mary Abukutsa lauded the Africa- ai- Japan project for funding the project saying, the innovation will benefit researchers in Kenya and beyond.
Congratulating the researchers for their innovation, Prof. Abukutsa reminded them to patent their innovation in order to further boost the rich list of the University’s patents which stood at 58 in the year 2018.
Prof. Abukutsa encouraged more researchers to come up with more innovations assuring them that “plans were underway to move the innovations from the shelves to the market.”
She also encouraged researchers to borrow a leaf from her by sharing their research data and outputs on the platform in order to make the initiative a success.
The Director of Research and Innovations, Dr. John Kinyuru congratulated the three researchers, noting their innovation will improve the visibility of researchers in Kenya.