The University of Arizona (UA) has been an ORCID member institution since 2016 through the Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA), one of the consortial partners in the ORCID US Community (administered by LYRASIS). In addition to their centralized institutional ORCID integration at https://orcid.arizona.edu/ (designed to connect researchers’ ORCID iDs with University of Arizona as a trusted organization), a second ORCID API (application programming interface) integration launched in 2021 as part of the Knowledge Map, or KMap project at https://KMAP.arizona.edu, which collects, connects, extracts, analyzes and visualizes the institutional knowledge of the university. This blog post is based on a presentation by Dr. Iqbal Hossain, creator of KMap and a postdoctoral research scientist in the Computer Science department at University of Arizona, at the ORCID US Community Showcase Webinar #6 on April 27, 2021. Many thanks to Iqbal for sharing his work with us!

Caption: The University of Arizona KMap aims to capture multiple types of data about faculty, staff, and students associated with the university, including: relationships with funding agencies, sponsored projects/grants, courses, publications, consulting activities, achievements, research subjects, patents, news and media presence, and more.

The UA’s KMap focuses on collecting, connecting, extracting, and visualizing unstructured and/or semi-structured distributed data about UA researchers and their activities, through a complex graph network visualization using natural language processing, machine learning, information visualization, and graph theory, as well as data from individuals’ ORCID records. The idea for KMap came from a professor in the department of Computer Science in 2015 initially as a way to identify gaps in institutional expertise (learn more about the KMap project background). The UA KMap aims to enable:

  • Identifying and building multidisciplinary teams based on research activities
  • Exploration and visualization of institution-wide and inter-department collaboration 
  • Finding subject-specific and/or prominent experts on campus
  • Visualization of research outputs related to other metrics of the organization
Caption: A snapshot of the University of Arizona Mathematics department via the Knowledge Map visualization.

Some challenges were encountered over the course of building the KMap platform because the university did not already have centralized research information about all scholars. This information needed to be gathered from various sources to provide a complete picture of institutional knowledge. Additionally, there was initially no way of uniquely identifying each researcher at the university, or knowing if someone was included twice or not included at all. 

To help mitigate these challenges, ORCID was identified as a helpful tool that could be integrated with KMap to help support discovery and understanding of institution-wide knowledge. ORCID is helpful for name disambiguation and for uniquely identifying researchers who have full control over the information and visibility of information in their ORCID record, and ORCID enables cross-system interoperability via the ORCID API. By integrating the ORCID API with KMap, not only are individuals uniquely identified, but researchers could also choose to import information from their ORCID record to be included in KMap, including publications, grants, keywords, education history, and all of the other data fields in the ORCID record.

Caption: KMap allows individuals associated with the University of Arizona to connect their ORCID iD with the application through the ORCID OAuth process, and subsequently import data from their ORCID record into KMap.

Granted, researchers can only connect their ORCID iD with KMap and import data from ORCID to KMap if they have an ORCID iD, and some people still do not have an ORCID iD. Or, if they have an ORCID iD they might not have all of their information populated in their ORCID record yet. Even so, some researchers have already taken advantage of the ability to link an ORCID iD and import information from ORCID into KMap, and others can choose to do so at any point in the future. The ORCID connection allows researchers to distinguish themselves and personally contribute to the collective data about knowledge and expertise at the University of Arizona.

Caption: This researcher has connected her ORCID iD to her profile in KMap (confirmed by the presence of the green iD icon). KMap allows us to see this researchers’ area of expertise, activities, collaborations and connections across campus.

For more information about UA’s KMap, see https://kmap.arizona.edu. For questions about ORCID and the ORCID API, contact orcidus@lyrasis.org.

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