OpenSocial Gadget Contest

Adding new features to Profiles and/or VIVO

External Collaborator tool.

Proposal Status: 

I would like to propose a tool for representing external collaboration among researchers.  An academic may collaborate with researchers at universities other than their own, or with researchers within industry. Currently these interactions are not represented within a single institution's Vivo or Profiles RNS instance. For example, Vivo and Profiles RNS typically display very few collaborations for a researcher new to an institution, even when the researcher is well-connected.

I propose a gadget that allows a researcher to enter the Vivo RDF URI and collaboration type (e.g., co-author, advisor, or advisee) of an external collaborator.  It would then automatically populate an "External Collaborators" section on the researcher's profile using the collaborator's RDF. This would have the advantage of enabling new researchers to expand their profiles, and it would allow all researchers to provide a more accurate representation of their work.

Additionally, it may be possible to further extend this gadget by adding external collaborations to the triple tables within the research networking tool.  This would serve to add the collaborations to a researcher's RDF, which in turn would be a step towards creating a global distributed VIVO network.


Hi Nick -- we should discuss this idea.  KNODE essentially has the cross-institution data to make this work.  It would be great to understand your use case and brainstorm about what the gadget might look like.


I remember talking to you at the VIVO conference. KNODE sounds like a very interesting product, and something that could be very useful to our customers, I'm going to sign up for a Beta Invite on your site, take a look around, and get back to you as i have further ideas / questions about how we could use KNODE, and how it could be used with the external collaboration use case described above.


Assuming reasonable disambiguation, I think Knode-based gadgets could be an excellent way to provide access to external collaborator data to Profiles or VIVO.

This is a valuable idea and rather imperative as academic research is collaborating more frequently with industry/external institutions. Would these only be academic collaborators? I can forsee an issue if we move into the realm of industry profile integration, but see value in identifying collaborations that are more than academic. Interested to see this develop.

The KNODE system identifies both academic and industry people.  Courtney's point on frequent collaborations across institutions is indeed one of the key motivations behind KNODE.

I would definately like to see a tool for both industry and academic collaborations. The tool I am proposing would work with both, and i believe that the VIVO ontology is descriptive enough to handle both sorts of collaborations, although in reality, few companies have VIVO RDF compatible sites, so linking to collaborators in industry would currently be difficult.

In order to maximize the interoperatability of this tool, it should be built to handle FOAF RDF when VIVO RDF is not available. As the FOAF ontology is a subset of the VIVO ontology, it should be fairly simple to handle FOAF RDF, by displaying just that subset of the information, and given that FOAF is a more widely used ontology, this would enable interoperatability with a much larger number of networking products.

Indeed, this gadget, as well as the Harmonize Profiles and ORCID gadget proposals, would need to "speak" bi-directional RDF to reasonably exchange data between different systems.

Nick - agree, the 'External Collaborators' section could be a nice way for researchers to expand their profile, especially for those new to an institution in which they have co-authored few publications or grants with the researchers there. This could also be valuable for potential collaborators viewing the profile and for mentees looking for someone with external research networks, either academic or industry.


As with all most of these gadgets, it seems to me that simplicity for the user is key for adoption. Is the intent that the researcher would "select" the RDF URI from a list as well as the collaboration type?


Thanks for the suggestion. I agree that making the tool easy to use is critical to adoption. I think the best approach to this would be adding an "External Institution Search" to the tool. If the tool was pre-configured with the SPARQL endpoint of other institutions running VIVO or Profiles, it could contain a search capability where you could pick the institution from a drop-down list, then enter the name of your collaborator. The tool could then run a SPARQL query against the external institution, and return the URI of your collaborator.

Selected comments from Reviewer(s):

Reviewer 1: "This could be a nice addition/tool. Would be helpful if the strength/depth of the collaborations/relationships could be represented also… perhaps as simple as weighting according to number of publications together, or grants together…"
Reviewer 2: "v. good idea, doable, very applicable, potential partners - though not convinced that a pure knode plug in is the answer, I think this will have to be developed with room for customization/edits by investigators."

On behalf of Clinical and Translational Science Institute at UCSF, thank you for participating in this contest.

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