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 multiplicty 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, thereby minimizing the amount of information that has to be entered manually.
As of February 2016, the system has been rolled out to most of the schools and some departments in CAS and SOM, and training is ongoing. The implementation team is in the process of developing reporting functions. The Schools of Engineering and Health Professions will pilot using the system during the current annual evaluation cycle. The team is also developing a CV generation function and faculty information reports, as well as reports to track productivity at the departmental and school/college level.
Future enhancements being investigated include generation of NIH Biosketches, and integration with ORCID (the persistent digital identifier) and the VIVO research network to facilitate cross-institutional and cross-disciplinary collaboration with a range of premier institutions of higher education.