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Aggie Experts Research Discovery Platform: Campus Pre-Release Now Available

Quick Summary

  • Aggie Experts is an expertise discovery platform created in support of the campus strategic plan.
  • It is designed to enable collaboration and reduce redundant data entry.
  • This is a campus pre-release that requires CAS authentication. The public release is scheduled for fall.
  • Faculty: You can review and customize your profile to reflect how you want the public to discover your scholarship.

Introducing Aggie Experts

Aggie Experts, a UC Davis expertise discovery platform, is a Provost-sponsored project that supports Goal 2 of the UC Davis strategic plan to enable and support research that matters at the frontiers of knowledge, across and between the disciplines by creating a support system to help campus researchers recognize new possibilities for collaboration and initiate partnerships.

UC Davis departments range from African American and African Studies to Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology, and our faculty’s work spans fields from agriculture to design, from engineering to human and veterinary medicine. Yet, until now the university had no cohesive means to demonstrate and promote this diversity of knowledge and scholarship, leaving many — even within UC Davis — to rely on Google searches to help find faculty experts working in a particular area.

Aggie Experts brings together publicly available information on faculty publications and grants to provide a coherent picture of the research being done at the university. Do you want to find out who at UC Davis works on almonds, bosons, cinema or zooplankton? Search Aggie Experts to discover faculty whose publications and/or grants include these keywords.

“Libraries are experts at managing information and making it accessible and easy to use,” said William Garrity, University Librarian and Vice Provost of Digital Scholarship. “What excites me most about Aggie Experts is the opportunity to leverage this core competency of the library team to facilitate discovery of the brilliant scholarship of our UC Davis faculty — to promote it to other researchers, potential collaborators, and the world.”

Information sources and uses

We convened a faculty advisory board to help guide development of the platform. A key priority they identified was to reduce administrative workload for faculty by becoming a data source for MyInfoVault (MIV). Faculty can choose to import citations of their publications and, very soon, grants into MIV from Aggie Experts, replacing what was previously a manual data entry process with data import infrastructure.

  • Tip: Information can only be transferred from Aggie Experts to MIV, and not in the other direction.

We use the UC Publication Management System, as well as author IDs such as ORCID, to harness publication citations. These additions can be imported from Aggie Experts to MIV.

Grant information in Aggie Experts will be refreshed quarterly as the university processes and reconciles awards with the UC Office of the President (UCOP).

  • Tip: We recommend checking amounts carefully when importing grants into MIV, particularly for any current grants, as recent changes to the campus financial system are still being validated.

Other uses of your Aggie Experts profile information include downloading the publication list and importing it into citation management systems such as Zotero, or pasting them into your CV.

Check your information in Aggie Experts

Aggie Experts is designed to capture the majority of journal publications from UC Davis faculty, with minimal administrative oversight required. However, author ID algorithms are not foolproof, so it is worth checking the publications that have been imported automatically into your profile. Aggie Experts will remain behind UC Davis’ CAS authentication until late September 2024 to provide faculty with time to review their profiles.

The Aggie Experts interface allows you to:

  • Reject and remove publications;
  • Add additional publications, including articles, books, book chapters, conference papers, and creative works; and
  • Control work and grant visibility if you prefer to be discovered based on your more recent publications rather than your entire body of work.

User testing of the application showed that making these changes was intuitive; most testers anticipated needing a week at most to get their profiles ready to go public.

Tessa Hill, professor of earth and planetary sciences and associate vice provost for academic programs in Public Scholarship and Engagement, was one of the faculty who had an opportunity to preview her profile on the site.

“My Aggie Experts profile is fairly easy to work with, similar in ease to Google Scholar. I feel that if I spend 15 minutes on it, it will be ready to go public. It has a lot of my journal articles and grants, going back to my postdoc,” she said.

Noting the potential for further development of the platform, Hill added, “I would love to see a category for outreach or public engagement in the future.”

Customized to our research community’s needs

Throughout the design and development of Aggie Experts, the UC Davis Library collaborated and consulted with campus stakeholders to understand their underlying needs. We convened a faculty advisory board, consulted with the Academic Senate, and conducted an extensive pilot with the College of Engineering to road-test the platform’s functionality and collect feedback. We also conducted multiple rounds of user-testing with faculty from several other colleges and schools.

To understand how the tool could support the work of other campuswide units, we have met with the Office of Research, Global Affairs, the Office of Public Scholarship and Engagement, IET and campus Strategic Communications.

We will continue reaching out to all schools and colleges to conduct additional focus groups and collect further feedback as we work to further refine the platform over the coming months leading up to its public launch this fall.

Meanwhile, we will continue improving Aggie Experts. Next on our roadmap are:

  • Enhancing search to show which grants and works by experts contain the search keywords
  • Expanding the platform to include the Academic Federation during summer 2024
  • Offering the option to update departmental websites through Aggie Experts
  • Enabling faculty to indicate they are interested in speaking to the media or in mentoring students.

We are also aware that arts and humanities scholarship is underrepresented in the platform due to the lack of comparable, consolidated databases for books and creative works, and we are searching for sustainable ways to address that challenge systematically. In the meantime, faculty may add any missing scholarly works individually.

If you have any questions about Aggie Experts, please review the FAQ page or contact us.


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