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Online Tool Houses, Centralizes UC Research Data
Published November 2009
Thanks to a university-wide central database, the long days spent searching for a researcher or collaborator, or sitting in front of a computer updating staff information on multiple spreadsheets and Web sites may soon be over.
This academic school year, the UC Office of Research is continuing the rollout of a growing centralized information management system in every college’s administrative process and university-supported Web site.
Called eProfessional, the Web-based application centralizes the management of professional data, giving UC faculty, staff and students the ability to maintain their own information right at their fingertips.
Upon UC employment, eProfessional automatically creates a basic record for each faculty and staff member. (Records can be created for students by request or as determined by the associated college or program.)
This record can be personalized to include such items as a professional summary, educational background, credentials, professional affiliations, research efforts and publications. All information entered into eProfessional is stored in a secure, university-supported environment and shared among users and related applications. In addition, the information can be self-managed or assigned to a delegate to manage.
For example, a researcher can update their most recent published research by logging into eProfessional, accessing their published works page and making the necessary update. In turn, that information would be stored in the database and pushed out to all applications that pull data from that particular file, such as Web sites. In addition, a user can search the eProfessional database for potential collaborators or experts on a particular research area.
“The intent is to make it easier for UC employees to do their jobs,” says Josette Riep, eProfessional project leader. “Right now, if a researcher is interested in finding someone who might want to partner with them on a grant, they have to sift through a whole wealth of information. eProfessional centralizes the information and allows searching by name or keyword so people can find information more readily.”
But what makes eProfessional unique is that in addition to storing information, it also generates a number of outputs, such as professionally formatted CVs, National Institutes of Health biosketches and annual reports. It also connects all university-supported Web sites, allowing one single update to be pushed out among a number of Web sites. That alone eliminates countless hours of updating multiple Web sites that feature the same information.
William Fant, associate dean in the James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy and a principal designer of the system, has seen a great deal of benefit from eProfessional. Fant and his colleagues use it to update faculty and student profiles on the pharmacy Web page.
“The system gets rid of redundancy,” says Fant. “You only have to enter your information in one place, one time. It is flexible and easy to modify and very dynamic.”
Many UC colleges and departments are currently using or working to implement eProfessional, including the colleges of allied health sciences, arts and sciences, criminal justice and human services, education, engineering, nursing and pharmacy, and the departments of internal medicine, radiology, neurology and several other units within the College of Medicine.
The system has generated so much buzz that even administrators at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center have approached UC about implementation throughout their health system.
“It’s a great way to keep information and our Web presence up to date and let the world know what great things we are doing at UC,” says Sandra Degen, PhD, vice president for research at UC and project sponsor.
Quick Facts on eProfessional What is eProfessional? eProfessional is a Web-based application that centralizes the management of professional data. eProfessional gives faculty, staff and students the ability to maintain professional information, generate outputs such as National Institutes of Health biosketches, annual reports and Web page updates, and search for research collaborators.
Accessing eProfessional All UC employees already have a basic record set up in the system. To access your information, visit the Researcher’s Gateway Web site at researchgateway.uc.edu. (Login and password information is listed on the site.) Once logged in, select “eProfessional” from the top menu. Some students may need to request a record. Call (513) 558-2101 for help or for more information.
Joining eProfessional If you are interested in using eProfessional or if your college or program is not on the current list of participants, e-mail research@ uc.edu or call (513) 558-0026. In addition, feedback and suggestions on how to grow the system are always welcome.