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What is Northwestern Scholars?

Northwestern Scholars is a searchable database of profiles of Northwestern University faculty, containing information about their academic appointments, research interests, research output (e.g., publications, visual and digital works, exhibitions, plays, patents through Northwestern, other), awarded grants, published research data, other scholarly accomplishments and affiliations (e.g., with graduate programs), collaborations, and more. In addition, it contains descriptions of Research Core Facilities. It spans all disciplines at Northwestern.

Who can access Northwestern Scholars?

Anyone can view content on the Northwestern Scholars public portal  (  Northwestern Scholars also has an administrative backend with access for Northwestern staff needing it to perform specific functions.

Who has profiles in Northwestern Scholars?

The following people at Northwestern University are included:

  • All Tenured and Tenure-Line Faculty
  • All Research Faculty
  • Instructional and Clinical Faculty (excluding Health System Clinicians or Coterminous Faculty)
  • All Emeritus Faculty who have ever been included in Northwestern Scholars
  • Contributed Services Faculty with active or past grants
  • Librarian Faculty identified by the library for inclusion
  • Institutional Collaborators
  • Select staff who have had grants with key roles and/or publications, determined on a case by case basis

For definitions of any of the groups above, please refer to the myHR Manual.

What content is included?

Data for researchers profiled in Northwestern Scholars include:

  • Overall profile information (e.g., a person's positions, education, contact information, research interest descriptions and keywords)
  • H-indices: 5-index, h10-index and h-index are calculated based on the publications included in Scholars from the last 5, 10 and all years respectively, and their citations from Scopus.
  • Research/scholarly output of many types (e.g., publications, digital and visual works, plays, exhibitions, patents administered through Northwestern, other)
  • Publication citation data from the abstracting and citation database Scopus
  • "Altmetrics" also known as alternative metrics (e.g., mentions in social media and news reports, by bloggers and readers on open web sources like Mendeley, and more) provided by PlumX and Altmetric on publications imported from Scopus
  • Project/grant awards administered through Northwestern, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, or Lurie Children's Hospital that may be publicly displayed
  • Published research data (e.g., datasets, images, software code) that was collected, observed, generated, or created to validate original research findings. This content is listed under “Datasets”.
  • System-generated Fingerprint research "concepts"
  • Collaboration networks visualization and drill-downs
  • Organizational unit profiles
  • Descriptions of Research Core Facilities

What is the source of the content?

Where possible, data from authoritative sources automatically populate the system and faculty profiles. Primary sources include:

  • Northwestern's HR system for faculty appointment data
  • Northwestern's, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab's and Lurie Children's Hospital's grants tracking systems for grant award data that may be publicly displayed
  • Scopus and other import sources (e.g., PubMed, Web of Science) for publication data
  • Data Monitor, for published research data
  • Northwestern's patent tracking database
  • For faculty except those in the medical school, manually added data from CVs provided by schools and faculty where reliable data import sources are not available (e.g., education, research interests, keywords, and research output when not available from import sources)
  • For medical school faculty, Feinberg School of Medicine's faculty information database for education, training/certifications, research interests, research keywords, and manually added publications (temporarily on hold due to medical school system development)

How frequently is content updated?

Updates to content in Northwestern Scholars occur as follows:

  • Persons:
    • Appointments and Graduate Program affiliations: weekly
    • URIC memberships: as requested by URICA
    • H-indices: daily
  • Organizations: weekly
  • Research Output:
    • Publications automatically imported from Elsevier's Scopus database: weekly
    • Research output imported from other sources or manually entered: as needed
    • Citation data imported from Scopus: weekly
    • Altmetrics (from PlumX and Altmetric) for publications imported from Scopus: real time
    • Patents administered through Northwestern: updates temporarily on hold
  • Grant awards:
    • Northwestern InfoEd data: weekly
    • Lurie Children's Hospital and Shirley Ryan AbilityLab: one to two times per year
  • Research data from Data Monitor: weekly
  • Manually added information (e.g., education, research interests, research keywords):
    • Feinberg School of Medicine faculty: temporarily on hold due to medical school system development
    • All other faculty: as needed
  • Fingerprinting/research concepts (see description below): daily
  • Core Facilities descriptions: monthly

What is Data Monitor?

Data Monitor, a product from Elsevier, collects and cleanses research data (e.g., datasets, images, data tables) from over 2,000 domain-specific and generalist repositories, by:

  • Harvesting metadata from 2,000+ repositories
  • Normalizing the metadata (following the OpenAIRE schema)
  • Cleaning-up the metadata (i.e., removing duplicates, dead-links and non-research data)
  • Enriching metadata with publications (DOI), author (Scopus Author ID, ORCID), institution (SciVal and Scopus affiliation IDs), funders (Crossref Funder Registry IDs), grants (original grant ID) when this metadata is missing or incomplete.

As an Elsevier product, it integrates with Pure, the platform powering Northwestern Scholars. This integration allows us to automatically link the research data record to the profiled author/creator and any associated publications.

What software is used?

Northwestern Scholars operates on Elsevier’s Pure technology platform. It uses Pure's public Portal and administrative backend system.

What is Fingerprinting?

Pure uses Elsevier's Fingerprint Engine to automatically tag research output, grants and researcher profiles with research "concepts" it identifies from the content. The Fingerprint Engine uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) techniques to extract information from unstructured text, and 10 different research-specific keyword vocabulary thesauri to analyze a researcher's publications and grant awards to create the Fingerprint™.

What is h-index?

The h-index is an author-level, citation-based metric, proposed by J.E. Hirsch in 2005,”as a useful index to characterize the scientific output of a researcher”.

By definition, an author’s h-index is the largest number h such that h publications have at least h citations each. For example, if an author has six publications, with 9, 7, 6, 4, 2, and 1 citations, the author's h-index is 4, because the author has 4 publications with 4 or more citations. In addition to the h-index (all years), h10-index and h5-index, based on data from the last 10 and 5 years respectively, can be calculated as well.

This metric is commonly used to measure the productivity and impact of researchers. Whether a specific researcher’s h-index is considered strong or not depends on their field of study and how long they have been active. Therefore, this metric should be looked at in the context of the h-indices of comparable researchers in the same field of study.

Note the h-indices shown in an Expert’s profile page are calculated based on the number of publications included in Northwestern Scholars and the citations captured by Scopus.

Who should I contact with questions, updates, or concerns?

Contact Northwestern Scholars Support at with any questions, ideas, updates, or concerns.

What is the methodology for inclusion of faculty members, departments, research output, and grants that appear when clicking on the banner located on the Northwestern Scholars homepage?

This banner links to a pre-populated search for several key terms related to the subject matter  (the full list of terms can be viewed in the search box on the top of the page).

  • Faculty (called Experts in Scholars) or Departments (called Organizations in Scholars) appear if their profile or Pure Fingerprints contain one or more of the terms.
  • Research Output or Grants appear if their title, abstract/summary, or keywords contain one or more of the terms.

I am working on specific research yet my name does not appear in search. Why is this?

It is likely your Research Interests and/or Fingerprints do not contain one of the search parameter terms. Contact Northwestern Scholars support for more information on how to update your Research Interests field. Fingerprints are automatically generated in the Pure software and cannot be changed.

----------------------SDGs--------------------------------------------------------------------- What are the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a series of 16 goals that form the core of the United Nations’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all UN members in 2015. The goals are an urgent call for action by all countries - developed and developing – to form a global partnership to address several critical challenges. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth, all while tackling climate change and working to preserve oceans and forests.

Why are the SDGs highlighted in Northwestern Scholars?

University research and scholarly output play a key role in efforts to meet the SDGs. Northwestern supports these goals through collaboration with other countries, promotion of best practices, and publication of data that can be used to make progress on the SDGs. The SDG tags in Northwestern Scholars make it easy to view research output that contributes to the field of sustainable development.

How is content in Northwestern Scholars associated with SDGs?

Pure, the platform that powers Northwestern Scholars, developed a series of search strings tied to each of the 16 goals, as described here. The title, abstract, and keywords of Research Output within Scholars are searched for these key strings. For Experts, profile information and keywords are searched. If there is a match for one or more of the goals, the output or person is automatically tagged with the relevant goal.