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the Common European Research Information Format


CERIF 1991
CERIF 1991 demonstrated in the ERGO Pilot Project
Need for updating CERIF
CERIF revision activities
CERIF 2000
CERIF 2000 in practice
CERIF 2000 Guidelines
Background to CERIF
Experts behind CERIF 2000

CERIF 1991

CERIF is a Common European Research Information Format, which has been published in a first release in 1991. CERIF 1991 was recommended to the Member States as a tool to harmonise databases on research projects, in order to ease exchange of comparable information on the one hand, and in order to have guidelines for building research databases. CERIF 1991 only dealt with research projects.

CERIF 1991 demonstrated in the ERGO Pilot Project

CERIF 1991 has been implemented on European scale in the ERGO Pilot Project. This pilot project resulted in a research project catalogue currently giving access to more than 80,000 project records, from more than 20 national information services

As such the ERGO activities demonstrated the feasibility of information exchange between CERIF-compliant research project databases. This pilot project also pointed out that more detailed guidelines would be helpful.

Need for updating CERIF

The CRIS-Community (CRIS standing for Current Research Information Systems, organised in EuroCRIS , the European Platform of CRIS providers) confirmed the need to revise CERIF and to extend the guidelines to other types of research information than only projects.

CERIF revision activities

The CERIF Revision activities started end 1997 by experts from the Member States and associated Member States and were co-ordinated by the European Commission. These activities lead to the guidelines documented in detail in this service.


CERIF 2000

The CERIF 2000 guidelines provide:

  1. a full CRIS data model with flexibility to allow the majority of existing CRIS to accommodate their own database structures;
  2. a base framework for data exchange.

Further, the guidelines include the recommendation to use the multi-lingual Ortelius Thesaurus for research subject indexing, and the widely used NACE and CPA codes for areas of economic activities and products.

Finally, CERIF 2000 also includes recommendations for controlled attribute value lists for certain data elements (e.g. role of a person in a project).

With an eye on the emerging information technologies, the CERIF Revision experts formulated recommendations for maintenance and future updating of the CERIF guidelines.

CERIF 2000 in practice

The CERIF 2000 guidelines are illustrated in the toolkit .

Examples of CERIF 2000 Full Data Model implementations in a selection of Data Base Management Systems

You may download three examples of implementations of the full CERIF 2000 Data Model from here (in Oracle Version 7 and MS SQL Server as SQL scripts and as an Access database file). These examples are available as an illustration of the CERIF Data Model guidelines.


Note that these models are being delivered "AS IS" and the European Commission makes no warranty or guarantee as to its use or performance. Users may use them at their own risk.

Nevertheless, some of the CERIF 2000 experts are willing to assist candidate users of CERIF. They are listed in the " CERIF assistance " section of the Home page.

Regarding the multilingual Ortelius Thesaurus recommended in the guidelines for the subject indexing of research activities, the European Commission intends to acquire the rights to use ORTELIUS for CERIF purposes and will then undertake to make this thesaurus available for all CRIS applying CERIF 2000. At that moment, instructions on how to download the Ortelius thesaurus will be added to the CERIF toolkit.


  • Browse through the CERIF 2000 Guidelines via the Executive summary
  • Full CERIF 2000 report

The final report of the CERIF Revision Working Group, containing the CERIF 2000 guidelines is available here for downloading:

  Word document - 837KB ( Zipped - 349KB)  
  HTML version    

CERIF History and Background
User requirements
Objectives of CERIF 2000, today and in the future


The list of experts is available here for downloading :

  Word document -23KB    
  HTML version - 10KB  

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