VIVO Harvester: New Updates

Symplectic have been supporters of the VIVO project for many years. Back in 2011, we developed an open-source VIVO harvester, to allow the feeding of information into VIVO profiles using the rich data captured by our flagship software, Elements. It’s available to fork on our Github page.

Today, we’re happy to announce another community-focused update to this useful tool.



Since the VIVO harvester’s first release, Elements has evolved significantly, with a wider range of data now held on scholarly activities, funding, publications, people, and the relationships between them. The ability to report on all these is critical for funding needs, but also for research discovery. With our new updates, institutions can now showcase these relationships, allowing them to improve the user experience for visitors and highlight more of the activities occurring there.

Explore collaborators

A key component to this update is the surfacing of external co-authors. Previously, the harvester only included author relationships for institutional authors that had approved publications in Elements. In this update, it is now possible to generate sparse profiles for external co-authors, and see them visualised within VIVO alongside the rich profiles of institutional authors. This greatly increases the co-authorship network of a researcher and is a powerful method of showcasing their network of collaborators from throughout their career.

This feature is so powerful that in our initial tests, the harvester linked 56,000 co-authors from the bibliographic data of just 200 researchers.



Beyond publications, collaborations can be further explored in the grants that are awarded to researchers. In this release of the harvester, grants held within Elements are also brought into VIVO, populating the investigator relationships.



Display labels for research themes

As mentioned in our latest Elements release, institutions who want to make use of strategic research themes to enhance their profile pages (such as MeSH, Fields of Research or Science-Metrix), can now display these on VIVO profiles. This allows visitors to see the subject areas a researcher works in at a glance, and easily discover their peers at the institution.


An example of a conference paper showing linked subject labels.


Finally, we’ve made some significant improvements to the backend system which has resulted in major performance improvements.

We hope you get some good use out of this update – remember to fork it at our Github page and let us know what you think. You can contact us in the usual ways, interact with us on VIVO community lists, raise issues on GitHub, and even contribute via pull requests! Collaboration is a vital part of development, and we would like to thank our friends at EmorySt. George’s, University of London, and the University of Virginia for their contributions and feedback.

VIVO Harvester Improvements

The update contains the following new features:

  • Addition of standard grants mapping
  • More standard teaching / professional activities
  • Publication and user improvements
  • Links to departments and organizations
  • Correct ordering of authors for publications (requires Elements 4.9 or later)
  • Include authors from external institutions (requires Elements 4.9 or later)
  • Add editors and associated authors
  • Map labels into linked ontologies
  • Add ISSN inferred labels to the journal objects
  • Add precedences for more data sources available in Elements

Remember that our resident VIVO experts, Alex and John, will be attending the VIVO Implementation Fest this March 16th and 17th – so you can ask them any questions you may have about the harvester, or anything else VIVO.

Development of the VIVO harvester has been managed by our Head of Repository Systems, Graham Triggs, who can be found @grahamtriggs. Congratulations and thanks to Graham!

With this partnership, we have the opportunity to position ourselves as
a world leader in the development of the scholarly ecosystem.

Keith Webster, Dean of University Libraries, Carnegie Mellon

I cannot overstate how pleased we have been.
We have to have confidence to work with a partner
for at least 5 years on a project of this size.

Caleb Smith, Senior Strategy Manager for Research Intelligence & Analytics, University of Michigan

“Faculty need only spend perhaps less than an hour a year to prepare and submit their annual reports.”

Associate Dean, Carnegie Mellon University at Qatar

"Leveraging the interoperability between Symplectic Elements and DSpace has increased policy-driven institutional repository deposits by over 350%."

Ellen Phillips, Open Access Specialist, Boston University

Elements elegantly connected our multi-university system providing a
single source of truth throughout OIEx.

Tim Cain, The Ohio Innovation Exchange (OIEx)

The University measures the individual research activity of academic staff. This Measure of Research Activity (MoRA) requires the collection of publication data from faculty. Symplectic Elements supports this beautifully.

Floris van der Leest, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia

[Elements] will help to bring transparency to the richness of thought showcased within non-traditional publications, providing a more holistic representation of faculties’ scholarly work.

Caleb Smith, University of Michigan

Feedback to date has been extremely positive from all levels across the University, with individual academics and colleagues actively promoting the ease of use of the system.

Rachel Baird, Research Policy Analyst, University of Liverpool