VIVO: Connect, Share, Discover

Research discovery is a new name for the age-old activity of understanding one's scholarly discipline at a level appropriate for knowledge generation: What work has been done and is currently in progress? What funding is available? What equipment is available and where might there be existing data sources? Who might be able to collaborate in a new pursuit of knowledge?

Scholars have developed techniques and personal networks for answering these questions to support their work. Unfortunately, traditional methods are strained by the explosion of research activity around the world. Scholars are inundated by new journals, conferences and workshops, a never-ending barrage of data, and the vast quantity of peer-reviewed content published every day. US and European research output continues to grow at 5% per year, while China, India and Brazil are each at or above 10% annual growth. The total amount of non-indexed publications exceeds commercially indexed publications by a factor of 10. New methods are clearly needed for discovering research and scholarship.

VIVO is an open source software system for research discovery. Originally developed at Cornell University, VIVO was enhanced though a large NIH ARRA award to a consortium of seven schools led by the University of Florida. VIVO provides an open information model for representing scholars, their works, funding, data, and research resources. A university, research organization, or professional society implements VIVO to represent this scholarly information. To date, more than 100 institutions representing more than 1 million scholars and support staff across more than 25 countries are implementing VIVO or producing VIVO compatible data.

Start Using VIVO

You can use VIVO just by visiting vivo.ufl.edu. Take a look around:

Click on any of the headings to begin navigating through the information in VIVO.
Use the search box to search for a friend by name, look for a paper by title, look for a journal and the papers published in that journal by UF authors.
When you find a person of interest, click on the co-author visualization icon to the right of the screen. You will see all the co-authors of the person for papers indexed in VIVO.

These are just some of the ways you can use VIVO to connect, share and discover research and scholarship.

Editing Your Profile

You can log in to VIVO by clicking "Log in" in the upper right of any VIVO screen. Use your Gatorlink username and password. Once signed in, you will be on your profile page. Click any of the "+" icons to add data. Click a pencil icon to edit data. Click a trash can icon to remove data.

When entering data in VIVO, you will often be asked to select an entity that may already be in VIVO. For example, when you adding your educational history, you will be prompted for the name of the university you attended. Type a part of the university's name. A list of possible matches will be presented. Select the appropriate entry from the list. In this way, you are "connecting" your education history to the university, not just entering the name of the university. VIVO records associations between entitities and can then be used to answer questions such as "who attended university x and publichsed a paper in journal y?"

More About VIVO

VIVO information is open. VIVO freely provides information regarding scholarship to the World Wide Web. VIVO data can be displayed on institutional web pages or accessed by software for aggregation across institutions. This fundamentally new capability creates opportunities for additional support of scholarship and discovery.

The work of scholars around the world is finally visible. Using VIVO, researchers can discover current work through a variety of information types, including: papers, presentations, research descriptions, events, and datasets. Search functions locate projects, organizations, and people involved in specified scholarship. Recommender processes locate related people based on their work and interests and opportunities can be easily routed directly to those who might be most interested. VIVO can produce biosketches, CVs, and information for departmental web sites and institutional reporting.

Administrators can gain deeper understanding of the relationships of investments, productivity, and research impact. Visualizations and tables of works and people by units and time can be customized by institutions as needed for strategic planning. The open data of VIVO provide opportunities for promoting the work of the institution while gaining perspective on peers.

VIVO goes far beyond current information platforms by standardizing the representation of scholarly data and the connections between them, within and across institutions. A VIVO can contain information on presentations, reports and other "grey literature," as well as courses, proposals, patents, human subject studies and other projects. VIVO provides rich data for social network analysis and provides visualizations which allow better understanding of scholarship at the individual, group, and global levels.

VIVO-facilitated discovery is not just for the sciences. All disciplines in the university can benefit from improved information regarding previous and current work, and participants. VIVO's broad information model and open approach has already been proven to be well-suited for representing fine arts, professional schools, the social sciences, and the humanities.

VIVO directly addresses fundamental issues in scholarship such as author name disambiguation. VIVO supports new forms of attribution, allowing production of data and contributions to scholarship beyond authorship of peer reviewed papers to be represented, shared, and discovered.

Today's research and scholarship typically requires cross-disciplinary collaboration. VIVO can be used to find experts within and across institutions. A typical biomedical research collaboration might include domain experts, regulatory experts, information specialists, social scientists, and statisticians. Experts may also be needed for commentary and participation in review processes and VIVO facilitates these needs as well.

VIVO works with related efforts around the world to develop information, tools, and communities for research discovery. Collaborators, vendors, federal agencies, and academic societies are all working together to create a new capability in support of scholarship through VIVO. VIVO enables a new approach to understanding the nature of scholarship, its socialization, its products, and its impact on our world. To learn more about VIVO, visit vivoweb.org

Börner, K., Conlon, M., Corson-Rikert, J., and Ding, Y., VIVO: A Semantic Approach to Scholarly Networking and Discovery, 2012, Morgan-Claypool Publisher, ISBN 978-1-60845-993-3.