UCSF collaborations, visualized

UCSF researchers often work closely with one another, across departments. We used data from UCSF Profiles to visualize how different departments work together, based on co-authorship patterns.

Visualization details: Data is drawn from UCSF Profiles, and includes all publications co-authored by current UCSF researchers from two more departments and listed on PubMed. The size of each department corresponds with the number of publications that members have published that include partnerships with other departments. The width of the lines connecting departments corresponds to the number of publications between two departments. Colors indicate clusters of departments that often publish collaboratively, based on network modularity. No scaling is done to account for varying sizes of different departments.

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UCSF internal collaborations, by department, based on publication co-authorship

Social Networks for Academics Proliferate, Despite Some Scholars Doubts

Here’s an article with an overview of online products out there for research social networking;  the big gap in the article is that no institutional products are included such as Profiles, VIVO, etc. This is noted in one of the comments at the end, by Titus Schleyer.

That aside, there are interesting opinions in this piece, a few clipped below, and perhaps pointing to the current status of the space,  where the sweet spot has not yet been found.  

“After six years of running Zotero, it’s not clear that there is a whole lot of social value to academic social networks,” says Sean Takats, the site’s director, who is an assistant professor of history at George Mason University. “Everyone uses Twitter, which is an easy way to pop up on other people’s radar screens without having to formally join a network.” 

Scholars aren’t interested in sharing original ideas on such sites, [Christopher Blanchard, an adjunct professor of community and regional planning at Boise State University] now believes, “because they’re afraid they’ll be ripped off” and because they simply don’t have the time.

“We have thousands of new discussions taking place every day—scientists helping scientists without getting anything for it,” [Dr. Madisch, of ResearchGate] says. “Three years ago, people were smiling at me and saying that scientists aren’t social. They won’t share information. They were wrong.”

Social Networks for Academics Proliferate, Despite Some Scholars Doubts – Technology – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

AMIA 2012 Joint Summit: a report back in tweets

Eric, Leslie, and I from CTSI at UCSF’s Virtual Home team spent the past three days at the AMIA 2012 Joint Summit in San Francisco.

Here’s some of what was happening on the researcher networking, social networking, knowledge representation fronts, and public search front, via Twitter:

Other tweets that caught my eye from the rest of the conference:

Measuring total scholarly impact, beyond the cite

The new Total-Impact tool takes a series of references to someone’s work (e.g. publications, Slideshare slides, URLs, Github or Mendeley accounts) and generates reports based on a wide variety of impact metrics. It starts with traditional citations, but adds in bookmarks (from Mendeley, Delicious, etc.), mentions (on Twitter, Facebook), downloads (from publishers’ websites).

Check out some examples:

It’s fun seeing the various metrics. Chad, for example, has work cited on Wikipedia, and read on Mendeley:

This 2011 entry from Clay’s report doesn’t appear to have any cites from PubMed, but shows interest and activity from a variety of sources, including the PLoS website, CrossRef, CiteYouLike, and Mendeley. Some of his papers have even been discussed on Facebook!

Read more:

Using Research Networking Effectively in Academia: UCSF-CTSI Team Presents On National AMIA Panel

Three of us from the Virtual Home team at CTSI went to this year’s AMIA (American Medical Informatics Assoc) meeting in DC and presented on a panel with Griffin Weber of Harvard University. The panel was called “Four Steps to Using Research Networking Effectively at Your Institution”

Griffin spoke on cutting edge features of research networking tools, such as linked open data and social network analysis.

Eric Meeks of UCSF spoke on standard APIs, such as OpenSocial, to leverage a community of developers, I spoke about incentivize usage and understand your audience, and to round it out, Brian Turner spoke about using data, tools and strangers to improve user interfaces.

The panel presentation was a 90 minute break out session and we were happy to have a good turnout and an engaged audience. I think that the work that UCSF has put into the ‘social engineering’ of the tool has really paid off. Our usage and engagement numbers are on the rise and comparatively speaking, Griffin mentioned that our traffic is about 5-times that of what Harvard Profiles is currently getting.

In addition, Eric also had a poster session at the meeting!

The UCSF presentations will be up on Slideshare, available on the CTSI channel and via our individual UCSF profiles:


Facebook for scientists

When I describe UCSF Profiles to friends, I sometimes refer to it as Facebook or LinkedIn for scientists.

But I’m not the only one. All of the following science networking platforms have been compared to either Facebook or LinkedIn for scientists: Nature Network, ResearchGateVivo, Graduate Junction, Epernicus, Laboratree, Academia.edu, ScholarLynk, and iAMscientist. (Phew.)

It’s easy to launch umpteen social networks and make ambitious comparisons. Building real value and adoption is hard—which is why I enjoyed reading “Facebook for Scientists: Requirements and Services for Optimizing How Scientific Collaborations Are Established,” a 2008 paper by a team at the University of Pittsburgh, using standard HCI practices to understand challenges and needs around research collaboration as they were work to build out their Digital|Vita platform for their campus community. As we think about next steps for UCSF Profiles, it helps me to reconnect with the basic needs we’re trying to address, and look at how other projects approach the problem space.