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Finding collaborators: toward interactive discovery tools for research network systems.

Borromeo CD, Schleyer TK, Becich MJ, Hochheiser H - J. Med. Internet Res. (2014)

Bottom Line: To be effective, collaborator search tools must provide researchers with easy access to information relevant to their collaboration needs.Interactive, timeline-based displays that support comparison of researcher productivity in funding and publication have the potential to effectively support searching for collaborators.Further refinement and longitudinal studies may be needed to better understand the implications of collaborator search tools for researcher workflows.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Biomedical Informatics, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, United States. chb69@pitt.edu.

ABSTRACT

Background: Research networking systems hold great promise for helping biomedical scientists identify collaborators with the expertise needed to build interdisciplinary teams. Although efforts to date have focused primarily on collecting and aggregating information, less attention has been paid to the design of end-user tools for using these collections to identify collaborators. To be effective, collaborator search tools must provide researchers with easy access to information relevant to their collaboration needs.

Objective: The aim was to study user requirements and preferences for research networking system collaborator search tools and to design and evaluate a functional prototype.

Methods: Paper prototypes exploring possible interface designs were presented to 18 participants in semistructured interviews aimed at eliciting collaborator search needs. Interview data were coded and analyzed to identify recurrent themes and related software requirements. Analysis results and elements from paper prototypes were used to design a Web-based prototype using the D3 JavaScript library and VIVO data. Preliminary usability studies asked 20 participants to use the tool and to provide feedback through semistructured interviews and completion of the System Usability Scale (SUS).

Results: Initial interviews identified consensus regarding several novel requirements for collaborator search tools, including chronological display of publication and research funding information, the need for conjunctive keyword searches, and tools for tracking candidate collaborators. Participant responses were positive (SUS score: mean 76.4%, SD 13.9). Opportunities for improving the interface design were identified.

Conclusions: Interactive, timeline-based displays that support comparison of researcher productivity in funding and publication have the potential to effectively support searching for collaborators. Further refinement and longitudinal studies may be needed to better understand the implications of collaborator search tools for researcher workflows.

Show MeSH
Screenshot of prototype. An initial search for the term “neurons” has been augmented by selection of additional terms (“pyramidal cells”, “Parkinson disease”, “neurodegenerative diseases”, and “neural pathways”) from the list of terms associated with neurons (right column). The rectangles represent the frequency of categorized publications, color-coded by each MeSH term. Green triangles represent the start/end dates for a collaborator’s grants. When the user mouses over an endpoint of a grant, a line is drawn showing the grant’s full extent and a tooltip describing the grant is also shown. Researchers of interest can be added to the follow-up list (lower right) by clicking on the name and adding a descriptive comment.
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figure7: Screenshot of prototype. An initial search for the term “neurons” has been augmented by selection of additional terms (“pyramidal cells”, “Parkinson disease”, “neurodegenerative diseases”, and “neural pathways”) from the list of terms associated with neurons (right column). The rectangles represent the frequency of categorized publications, color-coded by each MeSH term. Green triangles represent the start/end dates for a collaborator’s grants. When the user mouses over an endpoint of a grant, a line is drawn showing the grant’s full extent and a tooltip describing the grant is also shown. Researchers of interest can be added to the follow-up list (lower right) by clicking on the name and adding a descriptive comment.

Mentions: The prototype is based on a timeline-based view of candidates’ publication and grant history. The main view displays potential candidates’ names and institutions on the y-axis with each candidate’s grants and publications displayed in a horizontal line on the x-axis. The prototype employs distinct visuals for the grant and publication data. Pairs of green triangles are arranged on the timeline representing the start and end dates of the grants. Rectangles act as bar charts summarizing a candidate’s publications for a year. Keyword filters and a “bookmark” list of candidates identified for subsequent follow-up can be found on the right hand side of the screen (Figure 7).


Finding collaborators: toward interactive discovery tools for research network systems.

Borromeo CD, Schleyer TK, Becich MJ, Hochheiser H - J. Med. Internet Res. (2014)

Screenshot of prototype. An initial search for the term “neurons” has been augmented by selection of additional terms (“pyramidal cells”, “Parkinson disease”, “neurodegenerative diseases”, and “neural pathways”) from the list of terms associated with neurons (right column). The rectangles represent the frequency of categorized publications, color-coded by each MeSH term. Green triangles represent the start/end dates for a collaborator’s grants. When the user mouses over an endpoint of a grant, a line is drawn showing the grant’s full extent and a tooltip describing the grant is also shown. Researchers of interest can be added to the follow-up list (lower right) by clicking on the name and adding a descriptive comment.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4376239&req=5

figure7: Screenshot of prototype. An initial search for the term “neurons” has been augmented by selection of additional terms (“pyramidal cells”, “Parkinson disease”, “neurodegenerative diseases”, and “neural pathways”) from the list of terms associated with neurons (right column). The rectangles represent the frequency of categorized publications, color-coded by each MeSH term. Green triangles represent the start/end dates for a collaborator’s grants. When the user mouses over an endpoint of a grant, a line is drawn showing the grant’s full extent and a tooltip describing the grant is also shown. Researchers of interest can be added to the follow-up list (lower right) by clicking on the name and adding a descriptive comment.
Mentions: The prototype is based on a timeline-based view of candidates’ publication and grant history. The main view displays potential candidates’ names and institutions on the y-axis with each candidate’s grants and publications displayed in a horizontal line on the x-axis. The prototype employs distinct visuals for the grant and publication data. Pairs of green triangles are arranged on the timeline representing the start and end dates of the grants. Rectangles act as bar charts summarizing a candidate’s publications for a year. Keyword filters and a “bookmark” list of candidates identified for subsequent follow-up can be found on the right hand side of the screen (Figure 7).

Bottom Line: To be effective, collaborator search tools must provide researchers with easy access to information relevant to their collaboration needs.Interactive, timeline-based displays that support comparison of researcher productivity in funding and publication have the potential to effectively support searching for collaborators.Further refinement and longitudinal studies may be needed to better understand the implications of collaborator search tools for researcher workflows.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Biomedical Informatics, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, United States. chb69@pitt.edu.

ABSTRACT

Background: Research networking systems hold great promise for helping biomedical scientists identify collaborators with the expertise needed to build interdisciplinary teams. Although efforts to date have focused primarily on collecting and aggregating information, less attention has been paid to the design of end-user tools for using these collections to identify collaborators. To be effective, collaborator search tools must provide researchers with easy access to information relevant to their collaboration needs.

Objective: The aim was to study user requirements and preferences for research networking system collaborator search tools and to design and evaluate a functional prototype.

Methods: Paper prototypes exploring possible interface designs were presented to 18 participants in semistructured interviews aimed at eliciting collaborator search needs. Interview data were coded and analyzed to identify recurrent themes and related software requirements. Analysis results and elements from paper prototypes were used to design a Web-based prototype using the D3 JavaScript library and VIVO data. Preliminary usability studies asked 20 participants to use the tool and to provide feedback through semistructured interviews and completion of the System Usability Scale (SUS).

Results: Initial interviews identified consensus regarding several novel requirements for collaborator search tools, including chronological display of publication and research funding information, the need for conjunctive keyword searches, and tools for tracking candidate collaborators. Participant responses were positive (SUS score: mean 76.4%, SD 13.9). Opportunities for improving the interface design were identified.

Conclusions: Interactive, timeline-based displays that support comparison of researcher productivity in funding and publication have the potential to effectively support searching for collaborators. Further refinement and longitudinal studies may be needed to better understand the implications of collaborator search tools for researcher workflows.

Show MeSH