A System of Cataloging Institutional Research Expertise Using Microcomputer Data Bases

Article excerpt

A SYSTEM OF CATALOGING INSTITUTIONAL RESEARCH EXPERTISE USING MICROCOMPUTER DATA BASES

Abstract

A data system created at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHSC/H) contains information on the research activities of 500 faculty members and citations of more than 4,000 faculty journal publications. Much of the information available through the system of microcomputer data bases also is available in print. The Catalog of Research Expertise (CORE) system was designed to promote the research effort at the UTHSC/H by providing: 1) a systematic approach for rapidly matching and disseminating funding information to faculty; 2) a single reference for faculty interested in collaborative arrangements; 3) a means to quickly identify faculty with expertise in given topics; and 4) a university/industry tool to identify programs that might yield commercial products that could be used by industry/venture capitalists anxious for a "window" into university research.

The printed CORE directory is arranged alphabetically, one investigator per page, and is indexed by school, department, and research key words. Entries include appointment(s), education, professional activities, recent publications, research interests, key words, and research abstracts. CORE has been distributed to academic/research and administrative offices, to research libraries, local universities, University of Texas components and its Board of Regents, and to science reporters in the local media. In addition, CORE is offered on a subscription basis to industry and venture capitalists, both to provide access to research information and possibly to off set production costs.

Background

The stimulation of research collaboration among a diversified health sciences faculty was a strong consideration when The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHSC/H) designed and implemented a microcomputer-based data system for cataloging institutional research expertise. This system is called the catalog of Research Expertise (CORE).

The faculty of the UTHSC/H now numbers 900 persons and they are located in several schools (Medical, Dental, Nursing, Public Health, Graduate, Allied Health Sciences) on the campus of the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical center in the world. The Office of Research Services (ORS) promotes the research effort within the Health Science Center.

Services provided for the faculty by ORS include searches using the IRIS on-line data base; publication of Funding Futures, a monthly newsletter (which contains a deadlines calendar, selected program information, articles on trends in research funding, etc); a resource library containing current information on public and private agencies, as well as the usual directories and annual reports; and dissemination of information to faculty selected on the basis of their research interests. New faculty members are provided with a "Welcome Wagon" packet that includes information on the office and all other departments and committees that may be involved in the grants/contracts process. A recently established related office is the Institute for Technology Development and Assessment (ITDA). It serves the faculty in the evaluation and promotion of new technologies in biomedicine, and offers guidance during any licensing and/or patent processes. The services of both the ORS and ITDA are provided to the faculty without charge.

In addition to the promotion of research collaboration through the publication and distribution of the CORE directory, ORS foresaw a number of uses for the faculty data bases: 1) mailing lists and labels for the distribution of the newsletter; 2) specialized mailings of program announcements to faculty members selected on the basis of research key words; 3) reports of various designs to answer queries from internal administrative officials or from the State system administration; 4) faculty lists--selected on the basis of key words or research identification--for the public relations staff in response to media requests; 5) as an aid to academic offices in the location of particular faculty for student mentors or committees, and 6) as a vehicle for technology development and assessment. …