Faculty profiles as gateways to library services

The authors highlight their library’s role in promoting high-value profiles of their ​researchers and university

By Denise Brush and Jonathan Jiras - February 24, 2020  3 mins

Investing time in profiling the people and expertise that make an institution unique can result in some unexpected benefits, as two librarians at a US public research university have discovered.

Denise Brush, and her colleague Jonathan Jiras, both work at Rowan University Library in New Jersey: Denise as Engineering and Earth Sciences Librarian and Jonathan as Technology Services Librarian.

The library uses Digital Commons as its institutional repository (IR) and Expert Gallery Suite for its online faculty profiles and galleries of experts.

“Because research profiles are visible to the world, they increase your institution's reputation globally by showcasing innovative work being done at your institution,” says Denise. “The faculty profiles and IR are complementary but separate services. However, faculty and administration experience them as a single platform — a library service called Rowan Digital Works. While many faculty have profiles with other services like ResearchGate or ORCID, the advantage of Expert Gallery Suite is that profiles are simple to create, authoritative, and are on an institution-approved platform.”

Here Denise and Jonathan share their experience in sourcing profiles, populating the IR and leveraging other workflows.

Have the library staff create the profiles

This takes the burden away from faculty, who only have to submit an online profile request via a web form and supply their CV and a photo. “A harvesting tool, which queries Microsoft Academic via an API, provides the initial content and lets us do regular updates without bothering faculty. They are also encouraged to send us new publications when they have them.” — Denise

Use faculty profiles as a gateway to the IR

Many libraries start with the IR as a source for creating and populating faculty profiles. At Rowan University, they take the opposite approach. From the faculty profiles, they identify the open access publications that can be deposited into the IR and they add links to the subscribed content.

"Deans and administrators tend to focus more on the profiles than the IR. They can more easily see the direct benefit to them of promoting faculty research.” — Jonathan

Leverage existing workflows and infrastructure

Faculty apply for Rowan University internal research funding via the IR using its editorial management features. Faculty upload grant applications and the Office of Proposal Development can then manage the grant proposals within the IR. The Office of Proposal Development manager sits on the library IR committee and is very active in the development and growth of the IR. To apply for internal funding, faculty must submit a simultaneous request for an Expert Gallery Suite profile (if they don’t have one already).

“Because of this, the number of profile requests has exploded, and it's brought much attention to Rowan Digital Works. It's been a very successful strategy.” — Jonathan

The Office of Proposal Development also uses an Expert Gallery feature on trending experts and research topics to identify collaborators for grant opportunities.

Academic departments take advantage of the faculty profiles by linking out to them from the departmental homepage. The names of researchers that appear in some university-authored media articles often link to the faculty profile.

Want to know more?

Denise and Jonathan took part in the Library Connect webinar “The library’s role in high-value profiles of ​researchers and institutions” held in February. Their presentation is between minutes of 35:50 and 47:08. Access the recorded version of the webinar by clicking on the link below.


Denise Brush
Written by

Denise Brush

Written by

Denise Brush

Engineering and Earth Sciences Librarian,Rowan University Libraries
Glassboro, NJ. United States

Denise Brush manages the Digital Commons institutional repository, Rowan Digital Works for Rowan University Libraries in Glassboro, New Jersey and has created hundreds of EGS profiles. She is the subject librarian for the Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering, the School of Earth and Environment, and Physics & Astronomy. She earned her MLIS from Drexel University in 2004.

Jonathan Jiras
Written by

Jonathan Jiras

Written by

Jonathan Jiras

Technology Services Librarian.Rowan University Libraries
Glassboro, NY, United States

Jonathan Jiras is the Technology Services Librarian at Rowan University. He has a 25-year career in academic libraries concentrating on the development and integration of library applications and services with each other and with campus technologies. He has knowledge and experience in the capabilities and opportunities presented by institutional repositories including the selection, deployment, and configuration of such systems.


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