TECH CORNER: Keep track of your published works through Elements


Publishing is central to your success as a faculty member. You no doubt dedicate countless hours to your research. But your work truly makes an impact only when other people see it, value it and want to be a part of it.

Pitt IT wants to make your life a little easier. You do the hard part: the research, writing the article, getting it published, and helping to build Pitt’s reputation as an elite research institution. What we can do is make it easier to connect with colleagues, keep your publication list up to date, showcase the impact of your work, and simplify the process of generating reports. That’s why Pitt IT provides Elements, our Faculty Information System.

Elements Is about more than your CV

You may be thinking: “Elements is that program for making CVs. This system is more work than it’s worth. I know what I want my CV to look like, so I’d rather just do it myself.” I’d try to convince you otherwise, but you’re right. You can use it for that, of course. It does a perfectly fine job of maintaining an updated CV in a standard format. However, even if you are maintaining your own CV and website, Elements has some other easy, cool features that you should be using.

Do a pub(lications) crawl

Keeping an updated list of every article about you and your research can be a hassle. You have to find the articles, format the citations and manually add them to your CV and website. You have more important things to do, so let Elements do it for you. Just spend a few minutes to fine tune your profile so that Elements can search thousands of journals/publications for articles by or about you. Then, every so often, you spend a few minutes confirming the articles it identifies. (That’s me. Yup. Yes. Mm hmm. Nope, different person with the same name. Me. Still me. Not me.) Then it automatically creates a proper citation and adds it to your publication list.

Now that you have a comprehensive list, you can copy and paste it to your website or insert it into your CV. Print it out to send to your chair for departmental reporting, include in a grant application, or give to a conference organizer. It really is that easy.

Find your fellows

You know it’s important to get on the radar of others in your field so you can collaborate on projects, have your research cited or be interviewed or invited as a speaker. All of that elevates your profile, your impact and your career.

Elements enables faculty and staff to search for other faculty with an interest in a particular field. Perhaps a philosophy professor wants to study how informed consent impacts the reliability of neurological studies and wants to partner with a neuroscience faculty member. Simply search Elements for someone with that research interest to find a partner for a multidisciplinary study. (This is probably a ridiculous example, but you get my point.)

Brian Stengel, Pitt IT’s service owner for Elements, sees tremendous potential for promoting faculty members’ work using Elements.

“Creating a CV is fine. Deans and collaborators often need it, but a standalone CV or website only does so much for you,” Stengel says. “The real value is in repurposing that data to promote yourself and your research. A centralized system that captures information about what you do, who with, and where makes it so much easier. Not only can you actively disseminate it, but it also enables people to connect with you. That’s what makes Elements a really powerful tool.”

Reprinted from the Pitt Information Technology website.