Knowledge is only useful if people know it exists. So it is great to see Knowledge Transfer Ireland established, to start to allow organizations and individuals to seek out the knowledge in Irish third level institutions.
At least , it would be if it worked. . It doesnt
Look first at economics. Inputting “economics” we see on the front page (how is this ranked? Is it random? ) my good self and we also see Richard J Tol as economics in TCD. I am in the Business school and work in Finance. He is in Sussex, and has been for some considerable time.
I apparently have 31 publications (an undercount by at least an order of three if we look at just peer reviewed publications and by seven fold if we look at all publications). If we look at the TCD research system record we see nearly all my publications. If we look at google scholar, to which the KTI system neatly provides a link we see a pretty full record again. The system misclassifies my research interest, and it misses most of my research output. This alone tells me, straight out the box, that KTI is next to useless.
Looking at the TCD Economics profile of experts, again it’s a mess. It contains (some) of the people who actually work there; it also contains people who work in the Central Bank, a whole bunch of ESRI folk, a smattering of people in TCD in areas as disparate as law, sociology, business, sports science….
A quick glance at the other universities shows similar problems.
It proudly states that it “ automatically builds expert profiles from publication output, patent submissions and funding attainment. .Aficionado is unique in that it never asks an expert to create or maintain a profile on our system.“ and that’s a problem. If they are going to just trawl open access archives (as they seem to do) then they cannot present that as remotely like a full picture of any research endeavour. It seems that they have, as so often in Ireland, tried to do it on the cheap. Bibliometric databases abound and a decent system would use all of them, firewalled and open, to build a picture. Not here. Beyond that the data are presented in a whizzbang graphics rich mode that is devoid of any hint of bibliometric or other analysis. Every paper is the same as every other. A raw paper count is produced but there is no sense of quality in any sense.
This portal may well be an accurate representation of the STEM areas researchers and research profile. The thrust of the thing seems to be towards that area – leaving aside the fact that the centers of global excellence in Irish universities is in Arts, Humanities and Social Studies – but the data seem to me to be so patchy, poorly presented and flawed as to make it useless. If it is merely meant to be for STEM patentable right-now commercial research then say so. We know that AHSS research is not valued, so lets be upfront. This exercise has been supported by the taxpayer via Enterprise Ireland, launched by the government via Richard Bruton and its shoddy.