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By Joanna Ptolomey

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Institutional research expertise and output has always been published. Peer reviewed content is readily available via many different bibliographic sources if you can pay. But if you are an institution or a geographic region how do you go about capturing the richness of the data to be found in your own intelligence?

I find this fascinating. The information is there, but it is a pain in the backside to get at. As an information professional I want to explore richness, not just search.

Academic institutions are no longer ivory towers of activity/non-activity; there is too much accountability and governance. Research needs funding from someone and investors want a return on their cash injection. They also want to know that the research is being handled efficiently and effectively.

Are you as an institution or as a region making best use of all the resources you have at your disposal? This is all about managing workflows and knowing the power of the people.

Are institutional researchers from disparate departments informed of the richness of research output in their own institution? Is this intelligence facing outward away from the institution? Could this insider knowledge be used to attract wealthy alumni or pull inward clusters of emerging, supporting and collaborative working partnerships and technologies?

I have been thinking a lot about this very topic for the last 9 months or so. Last year in LiveWire I produced reviews of the American Institute of Physics' new product AIP UniPHY and it touched on this very issue. Within a subject area like physics, how can we make the most of research, encourage connectivity, cooperation and not reinvent the wheel at every turn? What was truly fascinating about AIP UniPHY was that although developed for the physics research community it had great returns for the business user also. Remember what I said about locating experts, tracking trends and emerging technologies. Refresh your memory at http://www.vivavip.com/go/e24639 and http://www.vivavip.com/go/e25323.

Coincidentally in 2009, I also conducted a comparative review of the Scopus and Web of Science bio-sciences bibliographic databases. Both performed well, but I particularly enjoyed using Scopus with its simplicity of access, great content and coverage, and fabulous output. I also know that it has a great following. Many of you like it and want it. Letís hope your budgets will stretch this financial year.

So what connects the AIP UniPHY and Scopus reviews? Another review! I am working on a BioMedExperts review provided by Collexis Holdings, Inc., a semantic technology company.  (This review is scheduled for publication with the May issue of VIP, and all VIP subscribers receive a copy). Collexis provide the technology platform behind AIP UniPHY, and now they are behind a new product supporting Scopus and the University of North Carolina.

With all that said, let us go back to the beginning of the story. Remember we want to capture the richness of research output and expertise and institutions want to attract cash via alumni or other investors. As a region how could you attract inward business investment?

Why not show off your wares to the world, let them see what is going on in your institution and region. Invite the world in for a closer look. Manage your research with care and efficiency and make best use of all our resources. Keep workflows tight and get great value for money.

On Monday, 12th April 2010 North Carolina Research Community (The University of North Carolina) announced a partnership with Scopus and Collexis to develop a statewide research community. This is powerful stuff. They are leveraging their expertise onto a global platform, and I think they have some great outcomes on that.

Joanna Ptolomey is a LiveWire contributing editor, VIP product reviewer and FUMSI contributing editor.

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