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Disciplines in FRIS

Research disciplines: the Flemish Research Discipline Standard

The Flemish Research Discipline Standard is a classification list for research disciplines, developed by the Expert Centre for Research & Development Monitoring (ECOOM-Hasselt) in the context of administrative reduction of research reporting1 and commissioned by the Flemish government.

The Flemish Research Discipline Standard is the result of the integration of the 3 Flemish research discipline lists, i.e. the FWO-, FRIS- and VLIR discipline lists,  and is based on the structure of the Fields of Research and Development (FORD) list of OECD². Furthermore, the Standard is supplemented with research disciplines that were identified in a gap analysis using international classification lists. Finally, every discipline in the Flemish Research Discipline Standard is provided with a definition that specifies its semantic borders. Altogether, the resulting semantically-enriched classification list contains 4 hierarchical levels, reflecting research disciplines to a different level of granularity and containing 7, 42, 382 and 2493 disciplines respectively.

In addition to the hierarchical representation of the research disciplines in a tree, the Flemish Research Discipline Standard also visualizes 3 interdisciplinary topics. Interdisciplinary topics use methods and/or techniques from disciplines that differ substantially from each other and in which the unique combination of the disciplines has a synergistic effect on the research practice.

The 3 interdisciplinary topics that are registered in the current version of the Flemish Research Discipline Standard are
1) Architecture
2) Mobility
3) Nanotechnology.
These interdisciplinary topics are currently not visible on the FRIS portal but can be consulted via the source file below.


The Flemish Research Discipline Standard differs from the Flemish classification lists used in the past by
1) offering a higher level of granularity
2) guaranteeing a balanced distribution of all research disciplines, by including disciplines with an atypical funding or publication pattern (e.g. the arts)
3) providing a definition for each discipline that allows for a correct interpretation by everyone and
4) its dynamic character, i.e. the Flemish Research Discipline Standard will evolve with the dynamics of the research world and new (inter)disciplinary areas can be included in future versions.


The Flemish Research Discipline Standard is therefore a versatile classification list that can be used to classify all research in Flanders (both fundamental and applied research), is relevant for all stakeholders in Flanders (universities, university colleges and other research institutions) and allows research information to be reported directly to both Flemish and international bodies, without any further transpositions.


Within the framework of the FRIS portal, the information providers classify researchers, research projects and research organisations with disciplines from the Flemish Research Discipline Standard. Via the filter in the left-hand bar on the FRIS portal, the discipline-related information about research projects, research organisations and researchers can be consulted.


More information on the development of the Flemish Research Discipline Standard can be found via: Vancauwenbergh, S. & Poelmans, H. (2019). The creation of the Flemish research discipline list, an important step forward in harmonising research information (systems). Procedia Computer Science 146, 265-278 (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.procs.2019.01.075). 


The Flemish Research Discipline Standard can be found here . logo


If you need more info, send an email to ECOOM@uhasselt.be

FRIS publicatie disciplines

For publications, a different discipline list is used, i.e. the ECOOM-SOOI classification. This classification list was developed by ECOOM for bibliometric purposes. This classification list is grouping of the almost 200 disciplines of Web of Science, Clarivate Analytics. This classification only applies to publications in scientific journals as included in Web of Science. The ECOOM-SOOI classification has a total of 68 publication disciplines divided over 16 sub-areas.

The list of publication disciplines is available as a filter in the left-hand bar on the portal, at the page of the publications. 

The current list of publication disciplines can be found here. logo