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The objective of research support systems (RSS) is to support and improve research, which may be viewed as a counterpart of decision support systems (DSS) for scientists. Web-based RSS (WRSS) assist scientists in the research process on the Web platform. WRSS are based on the assembling, integration, and adaptation of existing computer technology and information systems for the purpose of research support. A framework of WRSS is presented by focusing on research activities and phases, as well as the technology support needed. The emphasis is on the conceptual formulation of WRSS. Different systems are linked to various research activities, and a pool of support sub-systems is established. As an illustrative example, Web-based information retrieval support systems (WIRSS) are discussed. The results of WRSS may lead to new and viable research tools.