In 2014, UAB initiated a process to identify a faculty profiles system that could be used across campus. The goals have been to implement a solution that would make it easy for individual faculty to keep track of their scholarship and professional activities, assist in identifying potential collaboration partners, and provide robust tools that can be used to analyze and evaluate scholarly productivity at the departmental and school/college level. Prior to this it has been difficult for faculty to identify colleagues with complementary research interests and to easily maintain their own online profiles. Faculty activities have been collected differently across campus and the process of generating reports has been labor intensive for both faculty members and administrators. The Faculty Profiles system is designed to reduce that burden.
A committee with representatives from all of the schools was formed to review and assess various data tracking systems. The Symplectic Elements System was selected because of its intuitive user interface and the multiplicity of features and functions available. Information on publications is automatically downloaded from a variety of major bibliographic databases (e.g., Scopus, PubMed, RePEc, among others). Grant information is imported from IRAP and information on teaching activities comes in from Banner and School of Medicine, thereby minimizing the amount of information that has to be entered manually.
As of February 2017, the system has been rolled out to most of the schools and departments, and training is ongoing. The implementation team has developed numerous individual reports that are useful when submitting performance evaluations and grants, and preparing promotion and tenure packets. In addition the system can now generate aggregate reports that track productivity at the departmental and school/college level as well as graphs and tables that show a quick snapshot of publications, grants, teaching and professional activity for a given time period.
Future enhancements being investigated include generation of additional aggregate reports, and integration with the VIVO research network to facilitate cross-institutional and cross-disciplinary collaboration with a range of premier institutions of higher education. Once VIVO is fully integrated, we will be able to create profiles of faculty and highlight some of the great work that faculty are doing at UAB.