Joint Information Systems Committee

Joint Information Systems Committee

The Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) supports United Kingdom post-16 and higher education and research by providing leadership in the use of ICT (Information and Communications Technology) in support of learning, teaching, research and administration. JISC is funded by all the UK post-16 and higher education funding councils.

JISC structure

JISC is an advisory committee to the funding councils, made up of a number of sub-committees, each with a different focus:

* JISC Organisational Support committee
* JISC Content Services committee
* JISC Integrated Information Environment committee
* JISC Learning and Teaching committee
* JISC Networking committee
* JISC Support of Research committee

Members of the JISC Board and sub-committees are individuals from the education sector who bring a practical knowledge of how ICT is used within institutions, what benefits its innovative use brings and the issues to be addressed in order to support the future use of ICT. These experts ensure that JISC's work is focused on the needs of the education and research communities. The JISC Executive supports the JISC Board and sub-committees.

History of JISC

JISC was established on 1 April 1993 under the terms of letters of guidance from the Secretaries of State to the newly-established Higher Education Funding Councils for England, Scotland and Wales, inviting them to establish a Joint Committee to deal with networking and specialist information services.

The criteria agreed for JISC’s activities were to explore a national dimension to providing these services, exercising vision and leadership in bringing about developments for the benefit of the sector (HE) as a whole. They should represent value for money, collaboration and partnership with other relevant bodies to share best practice and effort, and establish needs within the community for new services and development and review of existing services.

These general guidelines continue to define the broad parameters of JISC’s work, with its strategy forming the basis of its current activities. JISC reviews the strategy periodically in consultation with the academic community to ensure that it continues to meet their needs.

1993 — Creation of JISC

A major challenge facing JISC when it was first established was to support a much larger community of institutions, comprising the ex-polytechnics and higher education colleges, along with the universities served by JISC’s predecessor bodies, the Information Systems Committee (ISC) and the Computer Board and acted as Vice-Chair to the ISC was appointed as Chair to the newly created JISC.

Initially there were four sub-committees supporting the JISC committee. These were remitted to direct Networking; Awareness, Liaison and Training; Electronic Information and Technology Applications activities.

1995 — Northern Ireland becomes funding partner

In 1995, the Department of Education, Northern Ireland (DENI) and the existing partners agreed that DENI should become a full partner in JISC.

1996 — Five year strategy published

JISC published its first formal five year strategy 1996-20011.

1999 — UK FE becomes funding partner

JISC’s user community was expanded again in 1999 when the further education funding bodies became funding partners. This heralded a restructuring and a new set of committees:

* JISC Committee for Authentication and Security (JCAS) November 1999 – January 2002. The work of this committee has now been taken over by JCN2 and JCIE3.
* JISC Committee for Electronic Information (JCEI) November 1999 – January 2002. The work of this committee has now been taken over by JCIE3 and JCCS4.
* JISC Committee for Integrated Environments for Learners (JCIEL) November 1999 – January 2002. The work of this committee has now been taken over by JCLT5.
* JISC Committee for Awareness, Liaison and Training (JCALT) The work of this committee has now been taken over by JOS6.
* JISC Committee on Networking (JCN2).

2000–2001 — Follett review of JISC

In November 2000, Professor Sir Brian Follett reported on issues concerning governance of JISC. His report concluded that ‘JISC is perceived as a UK success story, providing a network of world-class standard and a range of excellent services. Importantly, it evolves continuously and is an excellent example of collaboration between the community and the funding bodies'.

The funding bodies accepted most of the Follett report’s recommendations, and the new JISC structure was put in place from December 2001 together with a JISC five year strategy, 2001-20069.

2002 — New JISC structure implemented

The new structure consisted of a JISC Board which is advised by a Steering committee made up of senior officers from each funding body. The new JISC board is also supported by three supporting committees advising on Audit, Nominations and Remuneration issues.

There are six sub-committees in line with the JISC strategy. These committees can be considered as two types:

* strategy and policy committees that ensure the needs of specific communities (supporting research, learning and teaching, and management) are met;
* functional committees concentrating on specific areas of work (networking, information environment, and content acquisition).

The JISC Executive is remitted to facilitate policy determination; manage JISC funded services and development projects; and provide outreach activities.

2003–2004 — Mid-term strategy review

JISC began a mid term review of the 2001–2006 Strategy in spring 2003. As the needs of both JISC’s stakeholders and its communities had changed to meet the challenges of using ICT since 2001, the JISC Board agreed to carry out a fundamental review of JISC’s activities producing a new strategy which covers a shorter three year period, 2004 - 06.

2004 — Professor Sir Ron Cooke

Professor Sir Ron Cooke, recently retired as Vice Chancellor of the University of York is appointed Chair of JISC.

2004 — Three year strategy published

JISC’s first three year strategy is published. The vision for the JISC Strategy 2004–06 is one of 'ubiquitous and reliable access to an information and communication environment, so that users are able to enjoy world class technologies in support of their work and study'.There are five strategic aims which reflect the JISC’s need to support both government objectives and the needs of the education and research communities. To achieve these aims, thirteen priority activities are identified, which include elements of JISC’s current work programme as well as new initiatives.

2005 — Freedom of Information (FOI) Act

The Freedom of Information Act comes into force in January 2005, giving the public a general right to access all types of recorded information held by public bodies. JISC takes an important lead in raising the Act’s profile in the academic community and publishes its own FOI Publication Scheme10.

2005 — Learning & Skills Council (LSC) funding review

In the spring of 2005, the LSC announced that it needed to reduce its funding contribution to JISC. The LSC and JISC Executive negotiated a package of services that the LSC would continue to contribute towards in the future.

2005 — National e-Strategies published

A number of strategies and policies for HE & FE across the UK are published, reaffirming the central role that ICT plays in maintaining and enhancing the quality and international competitiveness of UK education and research. JISC has an important role in supporting these strategies and working with partners to implement them.

2005 — International partnerships agreed

JISC signs agreements with several international partners which demonstrates that JISC continues to be a leading player in the development of ICT for education and research. Agreements have been made with:

* SURF Foundation in the Netherlands cementing the considerable areas of cooperation between the two organisations;
* Australian Department for Education, Science and Training (DEST) supporting the e-Framework initiative which aims to develop a service orientated approach to the development and integration of IT systems;
* Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Germany), Denmark’s Electronic Research Library (DEFF) and SURF to create the Knowledge exchange which aims to increase the return on investment by the individual organisations in ICT infrastructure, services and projects.

2006 — JISC Capital programme launched

Under the Government Spending Review 2004, JISC was awarded additional funding of £81 million for the period April 2006 to March 2009 and launched a range of new programmes14 to support the work of the higher education and research community. Funding for SuperJANET5 has been provided by all JISC's funding partners. The other activities areas have been funded by the Higher Education Funding Councils for England and Wales.

2006 — Second three year strategy commissioned

Following the negotiations with the LSC on its relationship with JISC, the Board and Steering committee commissioned a review of the JISC strategy 2004-0615.

2007 — Three year strategy published

The JISC strategy 2007-0916 has refocused the strategic aims on outcomes and impact. JISC will deliver on its six strategic aims through sixteen priority activities and key deliverables which have been identified and/or updated. These include elements of JISC’s current work programme as well as new initiatives to reflect the changing priorities of JISC funders and the educational and research communities.

JISC strategy

JISC has six strategic objectives [ [ JISC Strategy] .] :

# Innovative and sustainable ICT infrastructure, services and practice that support institutions in meeting their mission;
# Promoting the development, uptake and effective use of ICT to support learning;
# Promoting the development, uptake and effective use of ICT to support research;
# Promoting the development, uptake and effective use of ICT to support the management of institutions;
# Developing and implementing a programme to support institutions’ engagement with the wider community;
# Continuing to improve its own working practices.

JISC Strategy []

JISC focuses on eight strategic themes:

* e-Learning — improves the quality of learning
* e-Research — technologies used in research
* e-Resources — digital information and e-content
* e-Administration — improves administrative processes
* Access management — secure authentication and authorisation
* Network — UK research and education network
* Information environment — convenient access to resources
* Business and community engagement — knowledge transfer

JISC services

JISC promotes the effective use of ICT across non-compulsory education and research [ [ JISC services] .] . This requires services and guidance to be provided to education institutions, across the range of their activities.

JISC funds three kinds of service:

* Advisory services to help institutions select the best approach or product where choice and independent advice tailored to the community is important;
* Production services, where a standard infrastructure is required or clear economies of scale and value for money can be maximised;
* Development services to test the validity of novel approaches and applications, especially where this avoids costly repetition.


JISC supports the development of innovative uses of ICT helping the education and research communities to exploit the full potential of information technologies [ [ JISC programmes] .] . Its activities are focused upon those areas that individual educational institutions would not be able, through lack of resources, to tackle alone. By funding development projects within institutions, JISC enables those taking part to engage in 'action research', sharing their experiences across the communities.

Online resources

JISC strives to deliver a high quality collection of electronic resources that will enrich learning, teaching and research [ [ JISC Collections] .] . It seeks to acquire content that incorporates leading edge technology as well as sourcing electronic resources that fulfil the needs of education and research.

JISC negotiates consortium packages, enabling the education and research communities to benefit from the latest online resources at the most cost-effective rates. Many of these innovative resources are subsidised by JISC and are available to all UK learning and teaching institutions at affordable rates.


JISC works in partnership with a range of organisations, both in the UK and internationally [ [ JISC partnerships] .] . JISC has formal partnerships with organisations for a number of reasons including policy collaboration, development programmes and the delivery of production and advisory services.

In the UK, the expertise of committee members, JISC Executive and JISC Services is shared throughout the education and research communities in order to exploit the full potential of information technologies. JISC works with partner organisations to explore opportunities for collaboration beyond these communities, involving schools, public libraries and adult and community learning.

In order to be a world leader in the field of ICT in education, JISC seeks opportunities to collaborate with and to share knowledge with organisations supporting education throughout the world.

See also

* Higher Education Funding Council for England


External links

* [ JISC website]
* [ JISC digitisation programme] , including the Archival Sound Recordings service

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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