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VisConnect: research assessment done right

VisConnect develops AI-powered visualisations to identify top interdisciplinary researchers

We are delighted to announce the launch of "VisConnect: Discovering Interdisciplinary Researchers with AI-Powered Visualisations", a collaboration with the IT:U Interdisciplinary Transformation University Austria that aims to transform the research assessment process.

Harnessing Open Knowledge Maps’ AI-driven visual discovery techniques, VisConnect will allow IT:U to better identify outstanding interdisciplinary research from a global field, going beyond the metrics traditionally foregrounded in the research assessment process.

In facilitating the evaluation of world-leading research, VisConnect will have broad applications:

  • Aiding faculty to find suitable collaborators and identify reviewers for publications and grant applications,
  • Enabling students to quickly identify the leading scholars in any particular field, and
  • Supporting staff to recruit outstanding interdisciplinary researchers.

Visualisation is uniquely suited to providing a comprehensive overview of an individual’s work, accounting for intellectual development over time and encompassing a broad range of outputs such as datasets, software, or policy papers.

These attributes are particularly important to IT:U as they build an institution dedicated to an interdisciplinary and international research agenda. As Prof. Dr. Stefanie Lindstaedt, Founding President of IT:U, explains:

“Our focus is on showcasing world-class interdisciplinary research. Scientists working on the intersection of disciplines are often less visible than their “one disciplinary” colleagues. As a network university it is our mission to identify world-class interdisciplinary researchers and to connect them. IT:U will act as a melting pot of disciplines to accelerate research and innovation."

A new era of research assessment

Traditional metrics such as journal impact factor (JIF) are increasingly seen as poor indicators of an individual’s research quality, privileging institutional reputation and failing to account for academic diversity or career stage.

VisConnect will support institutions in adopting comprehensive and inclusive research assessment practices. It is based on the DORA Building Blocks for Impact, which recognise diverse outputs, practices, and activities, such as scholarly collaboration, mentorship, leadership, policy roles, and commitment to open science. This aligns with movements for research assessment reform, such as DORA and CoARA, which advocate a holistic appraisal of researchers.

Dr. Carla Barreiros, Head of the Centre for Project Based Learning, notes VisConnect's potential to provide an efficient solution to assess interdisciplinary researchers:

“We believe interdisciplinarity is crucial to foster innovative solutions through the integration of diverse perspectives. With VisConnect, IT:U faculty and students can effortlessly discover leading interdisciplinary experts and explore future collaborations."

Current research assessment practices hinder open science adoption by pressuring researchers to publish in high-impact, often closed-access journals. Research assessment reform aims to break this cycle by recognising contributions like open datasets and software, assessing individual outputs rather than journal prestige. Dr. Peter Kraker, Founder and Chairman of Open Knowledge Maps, highlights VisConnect's potential:

“By enabling a more holistic appraisal of scholarly output, VisConnect will greatly benefit research assessment and help remove a significant barrier to open science.”

Enhancing Open Knowledge Maps

VisConnect will introduce research assessment capabilities to Open Knowledge Maps. The project results will be integrated into Open Knowledge Maps’ line of institutional services, the Custom Services, providing visual overviews of researchers and their outputs. This will enhance our services with a unique, first-of-its-kind offering.

Learn more about the Custom Services
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