Whilst the RCUK is still whistling in the dark about its new system, both the Russell Group and 94 Group have written to RCUK asking them to think again about implementing it in its current form. One person I spoke to said that working with the system 'will make you cry'. Whilst they had issues with MRC's e-Val system, it was user friendly in comparison to the ROP. Apparently the reason that the ESRC-based system was chosen in preference to the MRC one was that it was the cheapest to develop.
The main issue with ROP is that it does not allow 'bulk uploads'. Thus, universities will not be able to centrally load details of all the outcomes from all their RCUK-funded projects. Each academic will have to enter details of the projects separately. Worse still, the new system does not currently have the capacity to link to an institution's own repository - such as the Kent Academic Repository (KAR) - so academics will end up having to enter the data twice.
The result will be that research offices will spend a lot of time chasing academics to fill in their details - individually - and that academics will spend twice as long as they need providing their data - individually. And, if push comes to shove, the academics might decide that they will only provide the obligatory ROP data rather than (say) the requested HEI data, which may foul up institutional preparations for the REF.
There's still a possibility that RCUK will find a way to allow bulk uploads, and they may even find a way of linking to individual institutional repositories. But it's unlikely to do so by 14 November.