Collections and Scholarly Communication Forum: Researcher Networking and Profile Systems

Julie Speer, Associate Dean for Research and Informatics at Virginia Tech, introduced the Collection Management Section (CMS)-sponsored forum, held Sunday, January 26 from 4:30-5:30pm. Julie emphasized academic institutions’ growing utilization of research profiling tools, and the roles of and benefit to libraries.

Paolo Mangiafico, Coordinator of Scholarly Technologies at Duke University Libraries, described his work building a research profiling system to support Duke’s open access policy, adopted in 2010. An important goal for Duke was to build a system that made it easy for authors to comply with the OA policy. Duke embraced the idea of a “negative click repository,” first articulated in 2008 by Chris Rusbridge ( Using Vivo and Symplectic Elements, Duke built a fairly complex technical system, which emphasizes the utilization of outside authority sources and minimizes faculty curation of profiles and publication sets. For example, the system leverages Symplectic Elements in combination with the SHERPA/RoMEO API to feed in publications and archiving permissions. Scholars @ Duke is the result ( Paolo emphasized that he and his colleagues don’t sell Scholars @ Duke as a repository; rather, they describe it as a tool for getting one’s work read.

Dr. Griffin Weber, Assistant Professor and the Chief Technology Officer of Harvard Medical School, described Harvard’s homegrown system, Harvard Catalyst Profiles ( Catalyst Profiles was funded by Harvard’s Center for Translational Science Institute. The initial motivation was to examine existing collaborations and foster new collaborations. Using HR information and publication data, the system shows “ego-centric” and co-author network patterns, and describes research via keyword concepts. Catalyst Profiles has since been implemented at additional Harvard schools and colleges, necessitating the integration of more publication data sources, as the first iteration used only PubMed. Now that the system is holding this data, Harvard can start asking and answering more interesting questions about its faculty’s research activities. For example, one to two percent of Harvard faculty overall hold a patent, whereas 20 percent of engineering faculty hold a patent. Catalyst Profiles also demonstrates that Harvard exists in two worlds—biomedicine and humanities, with social sciences as the bridge. Harvard Catalyst Profile’s underlying software is open source and has been adopted by other universities and research organizations.

Steven Adams, Life Sciences Librarian at Northwestern University, described Northwestern’s experience with SciVal. Steven proposed that libraries are well positioned to provide and participate in the management of research profiling systems. Our participation in this area offers opportunities to collaborate across campus, and learn more about the faculty and disciplines libraries and librarians serve. Ideally, Steve would like to see the leading systems, including SciVal, incorporate more and better data about humanities and social science scholarship.

The session concluded with a brief, but lively round of questions and answers. Attendees wanted to know more about cost and uptake. About eight percent of Harvard faculty have accessed the system and updated their profiles. Paolo emphasized that reaching out to faculty at lab and department meetings is key.

—Robin Champieux, Oregon Health and Science University