Researcher Profile

In this post I’ll give a summary of the paper about Researcher Profile I read and describe my opinion of the application related to my thesis.

Researcher Profile is a Facebook for sharing research information within a community of collaborating researchers. The application offers visualizations on how researchers belonging to the same group collaborate. They chose to make a Facebook application for several reasons:

  • integration into an existing social network rather than developing a brand new social system (basic functions like forums, comments, … can be reused)
  • Facebook from all studied social networks had the best API: more stable and more functionalities
  • more development tools available for Facebook

The goal of the application is to allow researchers within the same domain (=Facebook group) to share and compare their research profile consisting of publications, events organised or attended, research projects involved in, … The application also allow importing of bibliographic references from a BibTeX file. There is also the implementation of tags to facilitate retreivel of information. The application offers to visualise all collaborations between different members of the research community in different ways and according to different viewpoints:

  • geographical viewpoint (Google Maps showing where an event takes place)
  • collaborative viewpoint (who is working with who)
  • viewpoint of a single individual’s collaborations(collaborations in which a single individual is involved)
  • evolutionary viewpoint: enables group members to see whether the activity of their community increases or decreases over time)
  • gender or age viewpoint

The paper also suggest some improvements to the application one these is the synchronization with digital libraries such as DBLP, the ACM Portal, … in order to facilitate importing new data without too much effort.

Opinion

This is a interesting approach to a research community, the visualization in the application are nice especially the viewpoint of the collaboration are very useful to researchers. Some of the application don’t seem that useful to me like the gender viewpoint. This application was developed without an existing community and that makes it quite different from the start point in my thesis. But the functionalities offered in this application would certainly be of added value to the open repository of DSpace.

Another fact in this paper I agree with is the fact that it is not wise to not develop a new social network but to take advantage of existing social network, instead of implementing a new social network in DSpace it might be easier to implement Facebook support into DSpace allowing users of DSpace to integrate their Facebook profile in the open repository. For example when a user uploads a paper a message is sent to his or her Facebook profile, Twitter Profile, … stating that a paper was uploaded. Comments made on the message would be shown in the profile of the researcher in DSpace. This would allow the user to publish his profile across DSpace. Allowing synchronization with digital libraries is also a great idea, it offers more information gathering and a bigger web presence of the user. One should realize that their are a lot of great online tools for science, working together with the most used tools will make DSpace a more attractive platform for researchers. Another route one could take is developing a Facebook Application for DSpace, this has the disadvantage of being another application which needs to be maintained but also installed by the user.

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