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Digital Vita: The University of Pittsburgh's Research Networking System

Digital Vita: The University of Pittsburgh's Research Networking System

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Published by Titus Schleyer
Digital Vita (DV), a research networking application developed by the University of Pittsburgh, integrates CV management functions with academic social networking and basic research team management and collaboration functions. This presentation provides an update on the project as of November, 2011, and presents early results of an evaluation study.
Digital Vita (DV), a research networking application developed by the University of Pittsburgh, integrates CV management functions with academic social networking and basic research team management and collaboration functions. This presentation provides an update on the project as of November, 2011, and presents early results of an evaluation study.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Titus Schleyer on Nov 18, 2011
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Digital Vita: The University of Pittsburgh's Research Networking System

Titus Schleyer, DMD, PhD Heiko Spallek, DMD, PhD Brian Butler, MS, PhD Linda Schmandt, MS et al.
© Titus Schleyer 2011

How do scientists look for collaborators?
• ask colleague(s) and get a referral • search the literature and cold-call • use electronic systems, e.g. Community of Science

Kraut RE, Galegher J, Egido C. Relationships and tasks in scientific research collaboration. Hum-Comput Interact 1987-1988;3(1):31-58.
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Why don’t scientists use expertise locating systems?
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. low awareness incomplete domain coverage outdated/sparse profiles lack of critical mass traditional approaches very ingrained

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Scientists are not looking for a blind date.
Collaboration …
… is often a long-term relationship. … requires predicting future performance. … benefits from deep knowledge about the collaborator. … can have significant professional impact. … is sometimes hard to end.
 contrast to “expertise location” in traditional CSCW research
Schleyer TK et al.. Conceptualizing and advancing research networking systems. ACM T Comput-Hum Int. 2012. (in press)
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With regard to collaboration, scientists face “an embarrassment of riches.”
• science increasingly multi- and inter-disciplinary • more collaborators through growing research enterprise • collaborators easier to find through Google, MEDLINE, etc. • remote collaborations increasingly practical

Braun T, Schubert A. A quantitative view on the coming of age of interdisciplinarity in the sciences 1980-1999. Scientometrics 2003 Sep;58(1):183-9.
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Plenty of expertise locating systems
• • • • Community of Science (www.cos.com) LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com) Innocentive (www.innocentive.com) Index Copernicus Scientists
(http://scientists.indexcopernicus.com/) (http://www.researchcrossroads.com/) (http://www.biomedexperts.com/) (http://www.vivoweb.com/)

• Research Crossroads • BiomedExperts • VIVO

• Direct2Experts

(http://www.direct2experts.org/)

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Are current systems responsive to the requirements of scientists seeking collaborators?

© Titus Schleyer 2011

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Results

© Titus Schleyer 2011

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Ideation and concept validation

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Requirements
• • • • • effort balanced with perceived benefit profiles comprehensive and up-to-date exploit social network model proximity assessment of compatibility, work style and other “soft” traits

Schleyer TK, et al. Requirements for expertise location systems in biomedical science and the Semantic web. Proceedings of the 3rd Expert Finder Workshop on Personal Identification and Collaboration; 2008
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Requirements (cont.)
• social networks based solely on co-authorship incomplete • accommodate preferences for privacy and public availability of information • search effectively across disciplines • facilitate non-intuitive connections

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Architecture

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Digital Vita live

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Implementation
• “soft” rollout beginning 10/2009 • currently:
– – – – – – – 815 users at Pitt, some elsewhere 8,045 total logins 28,139 publications 4,081 grants 11,495 presentations 4,376 mentoring records 770 biosketches
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Digital Vita Titus Schleyer et al.

Formative evaluation of DV
Objective: assess adoption and use of Digital Vita since inception across six HSC schools
• quantitative and qualitative • usage, attitudes, satisfaction and acceptance • outcomes

– short-term: biosketch generation and routing, new research teams, efficiency gain – long-term: high-impact collaborations formed, collaborative publications, external system utilization
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Formative evaluation of DV (cont.)
• Methods
– a cross-sectional , purposive sample – 30-minute semi-structured interviews – stratification factors: level of seniority (junior, midlevel and senior) and level of DV use (active, moderate and low) – interviews recorded and notes taken

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Data analysis
• descriptive analysis of tracking data • content analysis of interviews:
– – – – – general approach for managing CV software used to manage CV different uses of DV problems in using DV suggestions for system improvement

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Preliminary results: Quantitative

Image © mommamia/flickr 2011 Digital Vita Titus Schleyer et al.

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1200

1000

800

600

Monthly logins Total users

400

200

0

Digital Vita Titus Schleyer et al.

20 09 -1 2 20 10 -0 2 20 10 -0 4 20 10 -0 6 20 10 -0 8 20 10 -1 0 20 10 -1 2 20 11 -0 2 20 11 -0 4 20 11 -0 6 20 11 -0 8 20 11 -1 0
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User “types”
Superdelegate
Delegate Sole user

bulk CV data entry for 550 people
admin. support staff for center/dept. faculty faculty who do most work themselves

1%
4% 95%

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Size of CVs in Digital Vita
250

200

150
# users

100

50

0 0 1-50 51-100 101-200 201-500 >500 My Information objects

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Sources for selected objects
Entry Object type
Poster Journal article Conference paper Published abstract Manual Propagated Import from from manual MEDLINE

1,660 5,464 436 2,438

94 4,942 63 627

0 10,264 0 0

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Preliminary results: Qualitative

Image © MGShelton/flickr 2011 Digital Vita Titus Schleyer et al.

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Motivators for updating CV
• common
– preparation for grant submission – faculty annual evaluation – new publications and presentations

• uncommon
– – – – appointment to committees change in job responsibilities recruitment of students job search 

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Traditional CV management
• software used for managing CV
– Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat, Latex

• problems with Word
– formatting laborious – accuracy likely compromised by copying and pasting – difficult to keep track of new publications – difficult to create other documents based on CV

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DV description/impressions
• positive
– – – – – database/data warehouse data repository/central repository Internet-based/online/electronic streamline/simplify CV management versatile, flexible, efficient

• negative (1 user)
– unyielding/cumbersome interface – disruptive

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Current uses
• • • • • mostly entering information into the system created CV for various purposes (5 users) created NIH biosketches for grant (6 users) used “Search” to look for people (1 user) colleague requests (2 users)

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Features liked and problems
• features liked
– automatic import of publications from PubMed – easy biosketch creation – entering information straightforward

• common problems
– import of irrelevant publications – difficult to categorize some info (e.g. letter to editor) – confusion about publication updates – difficult to edit/format output documents
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Suggestions for improvement
• reduce number of irrelevant research interests in profiles • import publications more accurately • interface with other Pitt systems • implement recommendations • remind user to update • bold authors’ name in publication lists • customize CV format for each school • integrate dictation software (Dragon)
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Barriers to the implementation of Digital Vita
• Well-connected researchers will outperform system – most of the time. • Collaboration-seeking methods and needs evolve with scientist’s career. • DV economizes on many tasks but adds others. • The desire for “publicness” differs among scientists. • … and many other problems associated with social networks (e.g. free ridership, differential incentives, etc.).
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Discussion
• collaboration-seeking a complex activity • does not depend on solely factual information about potential collaborators • current approaches to finding collaborators time- and effort-intensive • CV a good source of factual information

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Project Website

http://di.dental.pitt.edu/orc/
Address of this talk
http://scr.bi/vugrGV

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Thank you for your attention. Questions?

© Titus Schleyer 2011

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