Case Studies

Inspec, the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s research database, has been aggregating and curating data in engineering and physics for over 50 years, launching the Inspec A & I database in 1969. Inspec now includes over 20 million records and works with a great many publishers and over 4,500 journals.

The IET and Ringgold have been partners for over 10 years. Inspec uses the Ringgold ID to standardize organizations in affiliations in Inspec records.

  Using Ringgold allows the customer to trust the data.  

Inspec

The Challenge

Customer requirement for an intuitive research intelligence tool for scientific research literature

The IET engaged with their customers to see what information they needed to help them define their research strategy. They learned that customers wanted to understand global and local trends in research output, understand their collaborations better and identify potential recruits. Universities wanted to know what they had published over the years, and in which areas, as this information is not readily accessible. They also wanted to learn how they ranked in comparison with both leading and closely competing universities in terms of output by subject.

The Inspec team then started to develop a research intelligence tool to help their customers develop their strategy.  Key to providing the necessary information to their customers was the accurate and consistent presentation of organizations in affiliations.

Inspec receives abstracts and affiliations from many sources, and had found that organizational affiliations could be messy! Material received from publishers varied enormously; some provided good, structured author data, others did not.  Over 300,000 organizations, departments, schools, universities, colleges, and corporations were included in the Inspec affiliations. The Inspec team felt that this was too large a set of organizations and sub-organizations to provide useful insights for users.

The solution was, first, to aggregate all of the organizations in a consistent manner, and then standardize and link them.

The Solution

Inspec Analytics uses the Identify Database to standardize and enhance organizational data

The IET wanted to be able to use their expertise and subject knowledge to provide a visually intuitive application that would show organizational output, author collaborations and global, regional, and national trends in engineering.

Inspec used semantic technology to connect the abstracts using keywords, subject classifications, publication titles and author information. However, they needed a way to standardize organizational affiliations in order to link everything up. Using the Ringgold’s Identify Database meant that the Inspec team didn’t need to do any of the work on organizations themselves. The Identify Database is a trusted source of organizational information and is used widely throughout the industry.

The Ringgold classification system was used to create five main areas: Academic, Corporate, Government, Health and Hospitals, and Other. This enables users to focus on the areas of research most important to them.

Ringgold’s Identify Database classifications, location information and detailed hierarchies, helped Inspec to aggregate organizational information from schools, departments, institutions, etc and to map these into clear organizational structures, allowing users to find what they need easily. Users can look for all the component parts of an organization, such as the California system, and compare them, their output, collaborations, etc. and see which organizations have published just one article or 40,000 articles.

The Inspec team found that Ringgold’s detailed Identify Database hierarchies were key to the mapping process. Articles were mapped at the department, school, or institution level and then rolled up to the main organization. This helped users of Inspec Analytics to compare the overall output from, for example, Harvard versus MIT. Inspec acknowledged that Ringgold provided a huge step up, noting that using Ringgold’s structure and the detailed Inspec subject classifications proved very powerful.

Content continues to be ingested into Inspec every day, with a Ringgold ID allocated to the abstract affiliations. These are then mapped using the identify Database hierarchies. The Ringgold hierarchies and data are very rich, providing the potential to develop more functionality for users of Inspec Analytics in the future.

  The Identify Database gives us a backbone, a well-known and trusted structure from which we can build and provide more functuality around organizations.  

Inspec

The Result: Inspec Analytics

The Inspec team was able to develop Inspec Analytics, a powerful research intelligence tool. Using semantic mapping, Inspec’s technology helps users to identify trends and patterns in global engineering and physics research. This helps users to:

  • Monitor the research output of an organisation and see how it ranks globally
  • Compare organisations to identify strengths and areas for growth
  • Identify potential collaborators for research and development
  • Explore global trends by subject over time

  It would have been much harder to build Inspec Analytics without Ringgold’s organizational data.  

Inspec

Users can look for partnerships and collaborations, for instance, which corporations in the USA, Korea or Germany are publishing in key areas. Users are able to look for corporations that are potential strategic partners and similarly corporations can identify academic partners.

Inspec Analytics has been a big success, with traffic and users increasing consistently.  Customers receive Inspec Analytics as part of their subscription to Inspec and renewals are strong because the service is really valued. Individual users say that they love the product, it provides insights and helps with decision making, and librarians have said they can’t wait to show it to faculty.

Using Ringgold’s Identify Database saved the Inspec team a lot of time and energy and allowed them to focus on their own areas of expertise, which is knowledge of the field and content.  Without Ringgold, the organizational data in Inspec Analytics would have been Inconsistently linked to schools, colleges, departments – and very difficult to make sense of.

Screenshot from Inspec Analytics showing organizations publishing on power transmission protection
from 2013 to 2020

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