Electronic Research Networking (RN) tools use a variety of approaches to structure, organize, display, and share core data about individual researchers obtained from a wide range of sources. One example is VIVO, which was first devised, developed, and implemented at Cornell, but more importantly, it is an open source semantic web platform which has evolved to be the de facto standard for RN Tools. The VIVO standard enables RN information to be accessible through locally controlled standardized search and browse.
A key reason for popularity of VIVO as a standard is that it employs the Resource Description Framework (RDF). RDF captures and permits attribution of meaning to the relationships between various academic resources (e.g. researchers, institutions, published papers, etc.). This qualifies VIVO as a semantic web application and enables it to engage in discovery of research and scholarship across disciplinary and administrative boundaries using interlinked profiles of people and other research-related information. For example, the RDF not only captures that Researcher A and B are both listed as authors on the same paper but more importantly these individuals are now considered co-authors. Now one can now surmise that they have collaborated at least once in the past. However with repeated instances of co-authorship noted between these two individuals, one could then infer with increasing certainty that these researchers are not only co-authors but in fact active collaborators.
A VIVO compliant online RN tool, such as BU Profiles, is populated with researcher contact information, interests, activities, and accomplishments and enables the discovery of research and scholarship across disciplines both internal and external to the local institution. Individuals are able to highlight their areas of expertise, display their academic credentials, visualize academic and social networks as well as display information such as publications, grants, teaching, service, and more. Local content can be maintained manually or be automatically populated from various authoritative data sources including Human Resources, institutional records, local repositories / databases (bibliographic, grants, course, and faculty activity), as well as from other data providers such as publication aggregators and funding agencies.
The VIVO software, architecture, and ontology are publicly available along with content that supports implementation, adoption, and development efforts. VIVO compliant applications exist both as free (VIVO, BU-Profiles, Profiles RNS, Loki, Lattice Grid) as well as proprietary (SciVal Experts, Research in View, etc.) applications. The VIVO ontology, developed and supported by NIH-funds, continues to be developed through SouceForge and collaboration with eagle-i.