Western Michigan University launches database of experts

Screen capture of the WMU Discovery Experts portal.

Screen capture of the WMU Discovery Experts portal.

On Feb. 14, business leaders, industry partners and Western Michigan University scholars will be able to access an electronic database of over 900 WMU experts for collaboration on the broad range of discovery that we do. “The WMU Discovery Experts database offers our faculty and researchers the ability to showcase their Discovery activities to the world …” says Dr. Dan Litynski, vice president for research “… and gives them a tool to build their discovery by finding collaborators and grant possibilities within and without the University including research and commercialization projects. We will also be linked with the other major research universities in Michigan through a State of Michigan Web portal.”

The Office of the Vice President for Research will release phase one of the new experts’ database, Western Michigan University Discovery Experts, on Friday, Feb. 14. WMU is working with Elsevier to develop and roll out the database system through a three-phased process. During phase one, and at subsequent regular intervals, Elsevier, utilizing their Scopus database, will link information about each expert’s citations to the system. Scopus pulls citations from 60 million articles drawn from over 20,000 peer-reviewed journals, 390 trade publications, 370 e-book series and 5.5 million conference papers. Eventually Scopus will pull from print books as well. Although Feb. 14 marks the official rollout of phase 1, when the system goes live to display the academic publication citations captured from the Scopus searches, this is only the beginning stage for initial population of the website.

During phase two, WMU will provide additional information, pulled from University sources, for inclusion in the database, such as external and internal funding awards, patents, licenses awarded and other available data regarding faculty discovery activities. Phase two, which includes the internally generated data, is set for completion by April 1. 

In phase three, WMU experts from our faculty and staff will be able to further enhance their system profile by providing additional information regarding their teaching, service, and other activities not previously captured during phases one and two. Then, faculty and researchers will be invited to submit information for inclusion during phase three of the rollout. More information will be forthcoming on when and how to submit this material but the plan calls for gathering this information by May 1, 2014 and then roll up of the information into the site by September 2014. 

Elsevier will regularly populate the database with more information on each expert on a weekly and monthly basis. WMU and individual experts will then periodically have the opportunity to add additional data to the Western Michigan University Discovery Experts database.

“The system is a work in progress at this stage, showing the beginning data to be collected for each Discovery Expert,” says Dr. Paula Kohler, associate vice president for research. “We are excited to offer WMU faculty a tool to use to market their areas of expertise and to electronically store their portfolios of work.”