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Frequently Asked Questions

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, 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)
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 and organizations: monthly
  • 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: monthly
    • 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
  • 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 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™.

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

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