Engineering Research Center Observatory

By Scott Hutcheson1, Borner Katy1, Gagandeep Singh1, Sara Bouchard1

1. Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

Published on



The Engineering Research Center Observatory project is a collaboration between the CNS Center at Indiana University and the Nanohub Team at Purdue University.

Indiana University: Katy Börner, Gagandeep Singh, Sara Bouchard, Adam Simpson, Scott Hutcheson

Purdue University: Gerhard Klimeck, Michael Zentner, Steve Snyder

As the premier place for computational nanotechnology research, education, and collaboration, the is used as a portal to the dashboard interface and visualizations. Our primary goal with this project is to develop and deploy interactive data visualizations for NSF staff, researchers, and students to increase their understanding of temporal, geospatial, topical, and network patterns and trends in engineering.  We strive to effectively utilize big data and advanced data mining and visualization techniques for making better-informed resource allocation, priority setting, but also career decisions.

The Engineering Observatory can also be used to communicate research results and innovations to industry, to identify strong collaborators, attract students and sponsors, and improve communication among researchers. In addition, NSF leadership will be able to use the Engineering Observatory as a dashboard to steer key developments in engineering.



The interface allows users to import their publication data and curate this data in order to clean and correct the citations and author names that are found within the data file. After edits are made through the interface, the user can then download the updated file. An issue we often see with publication files is one author being represented by multiple variations of their name, and this interface allows users to find all variations of an author name and combine to the preferred name. You can edit citations to include author role, gender, and provide a geolocation, which will be represented in the 3 visualizations created from this publication data.


Co-Authorship Network:

This interactive visualization shows a collaboration network based on co-authorship relations extracted from the publication file. It allows the user to accomplish 3 major things:

  1. It assists to identify clusters of authors that collaborate frequently;
  2. To detect those authors that serve as “gatekeepers” who interconnect these different clusters;
  3. To identify strong co-author linkages that likely serve as main collaboration and knowledge diffusion pathways.

Map of Science:

This interactive map supports the exploration of expertise profiles of a researcher, center, department, or university that are overlaid on a science map so that outliers, clusters, and trends can be recognized. The map visually represents 554 subdisciplines of science and their relationships to one another.  All of these 554 subdisciplines are grouped into 13 overall color-coded disciplines.  It helps users track what topics a particular center’s publications focus on and to identify the most promising areas of research.



This interactive visualization shows the co-authorship network overlaid on a geospatial map of the world.  Each node represents an author and two authors are connected if they have authored a paper together. This shows a global view of the collaborations that exist within a center’s publication data.

Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Scott Hutcheson; Borner Katy; Gagandeep Singh; Sara Bouchard (2017), "Engineering Research Center Observatory,"

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