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iSchool Collaborative Research Project Receives ALISE/OCLC Grant

A research project being conducted by iSchool professor Dr. Besiki Stvilia with iSchool alum Dr. Shuheng Wu of SUNYand Dr. Dong Joon Lee of Texas A&M Libraries recently received an ALISE/OCLC Research Award for $14,984. Entitled “Social aspects of participation in online research identity management systems,” the study will look at researchers’ perceived value of research identity metadata and motivations to participate in online research identity and information management systems.

Interest in the topic was sparked by a research project conducted a few years ago that involved bibliometric and scientometric analysis of researcher productivity and impact. The researchers, including Dr. Stvilia and Dr. Wu, had to manually disambiguate researcher identities by triangulating information from different sources in order to accurately map names to actual identities and collect identity and research information about specific researchers.

Dr. Stvilia shares, “The problem was and remains that no single database could provide accurate, complete and up-to-date research identity information about individual researchers.”

Accurate research identity determination and disambiguation are important to the effective grouping, linking, aggregation and retrieval of scholarship, to the evaluation of the research productivity and impact of individuals, groups and institutions and to the identification of expertise and skills. Knowledge curation by professionals usually produces high-quality results as far as this goes; however, it’s not always cost-effective. The study will further explore this idea.

Dr. Stvilia explains, “The online communities literature shows that successful peer curation committees which are able to attract and retain enough participants can provide scalable knowledge curation solutions of a quality that is comparable to the quality of professionally-curated content. Hence, the success of online research identity management systems may depend on the number of contributors and users they are able to recruit, motivate and engage in research information data curation.”

The nearly $15,000 grant will provide funding for data collection activities and some travel.