What is Opus?
The Opus system is live in version 1.5. All academic offices are currently required to use this system to track all of their academic appointees’ eligibility and open cases.
In the fall of 2017, appointees themselves, as well as reviewing bodies, will be required to use the system for merits, promotions, and 4th year appraisals. During this initial transition, dossiers will be uploaded as PDF packed and sent along an automated workflow. In the future, these PDFs will be replaced by integrations with campus and other data sources to provide the data directly to the necessary forms.
Data is distributed in both digital and analog formats across campus units, creating challenges to access and potential for errors related to academic review. To address this, the Opus project was funded in 2013 to become the information system of record for academic appointees at UCLA. It evolves the efficiency, transparency, and accuracy of the academic review process by replacing current paper files with a secure electronic profile, a convenient and automated review process, and robust messaging and reporting features.
Benefits of Opus
Academic review process.
Assembling the required data to build a dossier is a major task. Opus will assist by creating a secure, online profile for each faculty member, pre-populated with campus data sources such as courses taught, grants, honors, graduate advisees, etc.
A faculty member will be able to see exactly where his or her case is in the process, view any applicable policy, and set notifications to be alerted when you need to take action.
Management and reuse of profile data.
Individual faculty will be able to view their own personnel data. They will be able to add/augment their profile with accomplishments; curate their public profile view; syndicate parts of their profile to UCLA faculty websites, biosketches, or VIVO; locate potential collaborators on campus, showcase his or her expertise, and increase visibility to potential funders. Individual faculty can do this directly, or grant authority to others to help manage their information.
A parallel initiative called the Book of Record (see below) will ensure cleaner, more accurate data for the entire campus. For example, Payroll is the data steward for salary data; the Academic Personnel Office is data steward for faculty rank and step data; and faculty serve as the steward for their own data about their publications, presentations, honors, awards and certain other categories. Opus is formalizing memoranda of understanding with each data steward office. The Opus system will provide an error resolution process to allow academic appointees to contact the appropriate data steward and resolve errors at the source.
Book of Record Data
A book of record is an authoritative source for a data element or a set of data elements. The Book of Record Initiative is an effort to coordinate and document the policies and practices surrounding the campus systems and data that are sources for Opus (e.g. The Student Records system). For Opus to be successful, both administrative and academic users must trust the data in the system. As such, it is critical to assign and document campus books of record, whether that data currently exists in paper form, or within a system that will be subsumed by Opus. For some of this data, Opus itself will become the Book of Record.
To date, UCLA has never developed institutional policies around the management and stewardship of institutional data. Instead, each data-owning unit manages its own set of regulatory policy requirements, and any associated UC and UCLA policy requirements and practices. This network of policies and practices impact how data is accessed, shared and/or coordinated across data-owning units and customers, as well as the structure of the campus data warehouse.
The outcomes of the Book of Record Initiative will include:
- Documentation of campus Books of Record and Data Stewards assigned to specific Opus data elements to provide transparency to end users
- Assurance that Opus is using the most accurate/authoritative data
- Documentation of the data lifecycle for data elements within Opus to further data transparency, and to assist with error resolution
- Documented agreement regarding the responsibilities of data stewards to downstream systems such as Opus in order to ensure data quality and to protect data stakeholders
- Policy compliance. Opus will make it easier for all academics and staff to be aware of, and adhere to, existing policies and procedures around the representation and use of data. Note: For the purposes of academic personnel review, Opus does not change existing policy.