Making Researchers More Discoverable (Inside and Outside the Organization)

Summary

Bad Rabbit works with Children’s Mercy Hospital to build a public-facing portal for sharing the achievements and research interests of their team. Increased visibility for the research team and their work is key to driving an increase in opportunities for collaboration with outside researchers, and attracting top research talent and new funding opportunities.

 “This project with Bad Rabbit has been one of the best vendor
 experiences we’ve had so far, from my perspective.”

- James Slaughter, Research Business Systems Manager, Children’s Mercy Hospital

Introduction

The Children’s Research Institute at Children’s Mercy in Kansas City focuses on finding new, innovative ways to treat, diagnose and even prevent complex childhood diseases. Launched in 2016, the institute currently has around sixty researchers working in genomic medicine, health services and outcomes, and clinical studies – a relatively small but accomplished team with a deep portfolio of research experience. To support their institutional objective to be a world leader in pediatric research, Children’s Mercy needed a better way to share the achievements and research interests of their team externally. Increased visibility for the research team and their work is key to driving an increase in opportunities for collaboration with outside researchers, and attracting top research talent and new funding opportunities.

The Situation

Client’s researcher bibliographies and research interests were publicly available, but not easily findable. The client’s public website had a find a doctor/researcher function, but it was incomplete, hard to maintain and not easily discoverable. And researcher bibliographies were scattered across multiple locations making it hard to get a complete picture. Children’s Mercy wished to create a central portal where information about researchers and their work could be discovered, explored, and shared in order to foster collaboration, promote the work of the institute, and attract researcher talent and funding opportunities.

The Approach

The Research Business Systems team at CMH began by evaluating several foundations on which to build the portal, including Harvard Profiles, Vivo, and Symplectic Elements. Of these, Harvard Profiles seemed to be the easiest and most viable path in the shortest amount of time. It also had a stronger feature set in terms of discovery and browsability – for instance, auto-linking to all coauthors on a given researcher profile page. CMH lacked the resources to complete this project internally, and so they reached out to Bad Rabbit for guidance and ultimately to build the solution.

Bad Rabbit agreed that Harvard Profiles would be a suitable choice, but identified several gaps in desired functionality, and proposed solutions or workarounds. For instance, CMH wished to have automated notifications to support ongoing curation efforts. Ideally, this would be driven by an automated search of Pubmed to find new or missed items based on researcher identity and institution (other products such as Research Gate and Google Scholar offer this capability). Building similar automated functionality for Harvard Profiles would have been well beyond project scope and budget, and so Bad Rabbit ultimately proposed a simple albeit manual work-around – to have a second ‘staging’ instance of Harvard Profiles. This provided an environment where new or missed items could be added and reviewed before publishing, a feature not present in Harvard Profiles.  Bad Rabbit also built a custom page for user management, another feature not available in the stock product.

The Outcome

The launch version of the researcher portal is complete, and the Children’s Mercy team has been busy improving their researcher data in preparation for an upcoming launch. And they have already identified additional features which Bad Rabbit will build in the next revision, including better reporting on usage data in order to give better visibility into user engagement and options for improving it.

The client has been highly satisfied with the engagement so far. James Slaughter, Research Business Systems Manager, remarks that “…this project with Bad Rabbit has been one of the best vendor experiences we’ve had so far, from my perspective.” James states that the Harvard Profiles portal itself will continue to need development – it achieves core functionality, but numerous feature gaps remain. But he is particularly pleased with the guidance Bad Rabbit provided throughout the project as requirements shifted and scope expanded, and the care they took to ensure Children’s Mercy got the best possible outcome for their investment.