Visualizing the Scholarly Impact of Medical Education Researchers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Carle Illinois College of Medicine is a new professional school with an engineering-focused approach to the medical education of Physician Innovators. Over 200 faculty representing diverse disciplines from across the Illinois campus were identified to provide instruction, curricular support, and mentorship for student-driven research. Representing academic departments in STEM, medicine, health and life sciences, this trans-disciplinary approach to medical education creates unique opportunities for innovation. While processes to review the academic performance of students are continually being iterated upon, another aspect of assessing the research efficacy of a college is to track the scholarly impact of affiliated faculty. Librarian information professionals embedded in academic libraries have developed expertise in the understanding, use and application of research metrics. This information has typically been provided in narrative form, non-interactive graphs, or has required a significant understanding of specialized visualization tools (such as Tableau), which may also incur licensing fees. The Grainger Engineering Library Information Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has developed a new visualization web tool to display and disseminate data on scholarly impact of faculty in the new medical school. This tool requires no additional software for use or access, displays information in interactive form, and provides meaningful connections between data points. By harvesting bibliographic metadata through the Scopus API, the NIH and NSF websites, and the USPTO office, college administrators are able to visualize the publications, collaborations, citation metrics, and funded projects of their faculty. Harvested metadata is stored in a Microsoft Access relational database in separate tables. Bibliographic data and metrics including author name, list of publications within a specific date range, h-index, cited by count, number of co-authors and list of funded grants, and patents is then transcribed into a combined table. Utilizing HTML5 and Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), a web-based program displays each data element of the combined table with a clickable link to expanded results for each author. With a focus on engineering, technology, and innovation in the new medical school, granted patents of affiliated faculty and students are tracked to assess the entrepreneurial impact of the curricula. By tracking scholarly impact, universities are provided with metrics to help set the direction of curricular development, recruit high performing faculty and students, and make strategic budgeting decisions.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-178
Number of pages10
JournalQQML: An International Journal of Library and Information Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2019


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