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About Profiles Research Networking Software

Frequently Asked Questions

November 2015 update: mentoring

  1. Indicate your willingness to be a mentor: BU Profiles now allows you to identify yourself as a mentor. Members of our community with a profile can log in and edit their mentoring roles, provide a narrative about their mentoring philosophy and areas of expertise, and provide contact information.

    Within BU Profiles click “Edit My Profile” from the menu on the left-side navigation bar. If you are viewing your profile while logged in, you should also see the option to “Edit This Profile.” See logging in to BU Profiles if you are having trouble.

    Once on the Edit screen, scroll down to the “Add-ons” section and click the plus (+) sign next to “Mentoring” to expand that section and see the relevant fields (screenshot below). This section will ONLY be visible if the text reads “This section is PUBLIC” (use Hide/Show to toggle back and forth between PUBLIC and HIDDEN). We have defaulted people to be PUBLIC only if they have previously indicated a mentoring role at Boston University. You can hide mentoring at any time, if you so choose.

    Select all the mentoring roles that apply to you (note that you can Review Mentor Role Definitions before selecting). We have defaulted some people’s roles based on previous information provided, and for those people have made the mentoring section PUBLIC. Either of those elements can be changed by you at any time.

    Select your contact preferences. If you choose Email or Phone it will display as “Email/Phone (see above)” – since your profile already shows your contact information. You can also select “Assistant” and provide your Assistant’s Name, Email and Phone if you prefer that method.

    Provide your mentoring philosophy narrative. Some suggested topics to include are:
    • Who you are open to mentoring (e.g. students, residents, fellows, post-docs, faculty).
    • A brief description of areas you are interested in mentoring in (specific research area, education expertise, career development, work-life integration).
    • Your mentoring experience (e.g. approximate numbers of mentees, mentees’ career stages, mentoring roles you have held).
    • What aspects of mentoring you are most passionate about (e.g., your approach to working with mentees).

    Click “Save” to commit your changes. Don’t forget to make the mentoring section “PUBLIC,” if it is not already (using the Hide/Show toggle). You can click the “View Profile” button in the far upper-right corner of the edit screen next to your name to ensure things appear as expected.

  2. New “Find Mentors” search option:BU Profiles now allows you to search for mentors by mentoring role(s), department/division, by keyword or concept, and other criteria, using the “Find Mentors” menu item or search tab option.

    You can navigate to the mentor search page by clicking the menu item under “Find People,” or by clicking the “Find Mentors” tab on the main search screen.

    Performing a mentoring search will bring back anyone who has made mentoring PUBLIC, as long as they have EITHER a mentoring narrative OR have selected one or more mentoring roles. To further refine results you can use the search screen to specify other criteria.

    Mentoring is an “AND” search, meaning the more criteria you specify the more narrow your results will be. The one exception is at the top of the search page, where you can use the drop down to find mentors with ANY or ALL of the selected roles. The default is ANY, meaning if you select multiple roles it will bring back anyone who has ONE OR MORE of your selections. If you change it to ALL it will force the result to be ONLY those people who have ALL the roles you selected, further narrowing your results.

    Search Fields:
    • Roles: The role definitions may be useful to review. You can leave this blank or select multiple roles.
    • Institution: Useful to look for people affiliated with a specific school at BU, among other things.
    • Department: Useful to look for people affiliated with a specific department, center or program.
    • Division: Useful to look for people affiliated with a specific section, unit or other departmental subdivision.
    • Keywords: An entry in this field will look for matches in a person’s Mentoring Narrative, Research Expertise & Professional Interests, Self-Described Keywords, Publication Title and a person’s Concepts (which are derived from publication MeSH terms).
    • Remember when using “Find Mentors” that you will ONLY get people back who have EITHER a mentoring narrative OR have selected one or more mentoring roles, no matter what else you choose.

    Search Results:
    • Name: The person’s name that matched your criteria. Click to open their Profile in a new browser tab. You can hover over the name to see that person’s mentoring roles.
    • Institution
    • Department: Shows both the Department and Division together, when applicable, separated by “-“
    • Page Size: You can control how many people are listed per page and navigate through the results.
    • Click “Modify” at the top of the results page to modify your selection criteria.
    • Hover over “Search Criteria” to remind yourself of your current criteria.
    • Click the “Find Mentors” menu item if you want to clear and start a new search.

December 2013 updates:

There are several major enhancements as of December 2013, including: personalized URLs, enhanced search (“Find People” versus “Find Everything”), integration with Twitter, SlideShare, and YouTube, new visualizations, new privacy options, ORCID integration, notification of new publications via disambiguation, and more. To see further details visit the “What’s new” page.

March 2013 updates: websites, NIH Reporter and self-described keywords

  1. Websites: Additional websites that highlight an individual’s collaborations, expertise and interests can now be added and maintained by each person. Over 1,500 BU, BMC and other sites have been pre-populated. By editing your profile, you can add, remove, edit and reorder your other websites.
  2. Grants Awarded: Extracted from NIH RePORTER, a publically accessible database, this data is what BU has been able to link to you as a PI. It is read-only, not editable. It is generally refreshed monthly, though NIH’s schedule can vary. You’ll see the NIH fiscal year, title, the project (and subproject in green, if applicable), and the number of publications. By default you’ll see only 10 awards, but you can choose to “show all results” at the bottom of the grid. There are links to the details from both the title (goes to the project information description screen at NIH), and from the Pubs (goes to project information results at NIH).

  3. Self-described Keywords: While Profiles automatically generates concepts for you based on the MeSH terms for PubMed Publications (see the upper-right hand corner of your “passive networks”), we have added a new section allowing you to specify additional terms that reflect your expertise and interests. It has been pre-populated with terms provided from Expertise Resources and Faculty Development applications, if applicable.
  4. BU NIH RePORTER enhancements: We have worked with NIH to link PIs/Project Leaders in NIH RePORTER to their BU Profile. You’ll be able to link to a profile from the project search results page after submitting a RePORTER query, by clicking on the PI/Project Leader name. Then you’ll be able to click on the BU Profiles link, which will open in a new tab. You can also get there from the details tab, or any place the name is listed within a given project. Sample images are below.
    Project Search Results

    Pop-up window links into BU Profiles

    Other screens with the PI/Project Leader shown allow the same functionality 

Who is listed in Profiles?

Initially University and community faculty, investigators, trainees, and research and clinical staff involved in basic science, clinical or translational research at Boston University. In the future, expansion of BU Profiles to other populations within the larger University system is under consideration.

Who can view Profiles?

People both inside and outside the BU community via our public website. However, BU researchers with a BU login can login for additional features, such as profile editing.

How do I login to Profiles?

BU Profiles is integrated with the University's BU login username and password single sign-on. Use your BU login and Kerberos password. You can get to BU Profiles by going to, then log in by clicking “Login to BU Profiles” from the right-hand navigation menu. You will also be prompted to login when clicking “Edit My Profile.”
If you don’t remember your BU login or password, contact the BUMC IT Help Desk at 617-638-5914 Monday - Friday, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM (EST) or email

How do I edit my profile?

  • Click “Edit My Profile” from the menu on the left-side navigation bar. If you’re viewing your profile while logged in, you should also see the option to “Edit This Profile.”
  • Each profile is divided into several sections:
    • directory information & positions
    • photo
    • awards and honors
    • research expertise and professional interests
    • NIH reporter grants
    • self-described keywords
    • publications
  • You can make changes using the various "Add", "Edit", and/or "Delete" links in each section.
  • Display or hide each section, except directory information, by clicking the hide/show links.
  • BU Profiles uses the campus directory for contact information. To make changes to this data log in to the Employee Self Service page by clicking this link to the BUWorks Central Portal. Select the "Employee Self-Service" tab and then click the "Personal Information" link. You can make changes to your office address and phone number there.
  • Changes made to that data may not show up in BU Profiles immediately.
  • Custom photos can be uploaded. See below under 'How do I add and edit my photo?'
  • You can edit the content in the awards, narrative, and publications sections.
  • Concepts cannot be edited directly because they are derived automatically from the PubMed articles listed with your profile. You can improve these lists by keeping your publications up to date. See below under ‘Can I edit my concepts?’ for more information.
  • For suggestions and problems you can request help.

How do I add and edit my photo?

  • Choose “Edit My Profile” or “Edit this Profile” if you’re already logged in and viewing your profile.
  • Within the “Address” section click “Photo”
  • Click "Add/Edit Custom Photo", then click "Choose File" to locate the picture file which you want to use as your profile photo.
  • Once you’ve added the photo, don’t forget to “Edit Visibility” to make it visible.
The maximum file size is 256K and the photo will be reduced to a square of 120 x 120 pixels. If the picture you chose to upload did not originally have square dimensions then some distortion of the picture will occur.

You can change your profile photo at any time using the procedure detailed above.

You can hide your profile photo from public view by clicking "Edit Visibility" once you’ve clicked on “Photo” within the Address section. You can change the privacy settings to any of the 4 settings displayed on that screen (see privacy settings for more info). Currently there is no mechanism for deleting a profile photo.

Can I edit my concepts, co-authors, or list of similar people?

  • Concepts and co-authors are derived automatically from the PubMed articles listed with your profile. You cannot edit these directly, but you can improve these lists by keeping your publications in Profiles RNS up to date. Please note that it takes up to 24 hours for the system to update your concepts, co-authors, and similar people after modification.
  • Concept rankings and similar people lists are based on algorithms that weigh several factors including: the number of corresponding publications, how relevant the concepts are to the overall topics of the publications, how long ago the publications were written, whether a person was the first or senior author and how many other people have written about the same topic. Your feedback is essential to helping us refine these algorithms.
  • This website allows users to add custom self-derived keywords to their profiles. In addition, there are automatically derived terms (concepts) from your publications.

How can I modify the degrees displayed next to my name?

Contact support staff by utilizing the feedback form with details and we will customize the display of your degrees in Profiles.

Why are there missing or incorrect publications in my profile?

Publications are added both automatically from PubMed and manually by BU researchers directly. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to match articles in PubMed to the profiles on this website. The algorithm used to find articles from PubMed attempts to minimize the number of publications incorrectly added to a profile; however, this method results in some missing publications. Researchers with common names, changed names or whose articles were written at other institutions are most likely to have incomplete publication lists. We encourage all BU researchers to login to the BU Profiles website and add missing publications or remove incorrect ones.

If you have missing publications that you know should be in PubMed, there are two easy ways to add them. Choose “Edit My Profile” or “Edit this Profile” if you’re already logged in and viewing your profile. Within the “Bibliographic” section click “Publications,” and you can:
  • Add PubMed – This allows you to find publications affiliated with a specific organization and published with a specific name. This is very useful if you published at organizations other than Boston University, or if you had a name change due to marriage, etc. You can enter your name in the author text box as it’s typically listed in PubMed, then enter the affiliation where you published. So if you did a lot of work while at Harvard, you would list that in the affiliation field. By default there is a box checked at the bottom to “exclude articles already added to my profile.” Once you run the search with that selected, it will only bring back items in PubMed that are not already in your profile. That makes review easier. You can quickly select all or just some of the publications, then choose “Add Selected” to bring them into your profile. You can repeat the process if you were at several other institutions. Note that you can search for multiple name formats at a given affiliation, but only for one affiliation at a time. You also have the option to use publication keywords if you have a particularly common name. Also please note that when first adding missing publications using “Add PubMed”, if you were not the first author it may help to list the first author AND your name as it appears in PubMed to bring back additional results. We’ve noticed that just listing your name on those articles where you’re not the first author isn’t always enough. First search with your name alone, then cycle through additional first author and your name combinations, if needed.
  • Add by ID – This is most useful if you have a list of PMIDs that belong to you. You can paste or type them all in one text box separated by comma or semicolon, or one PMID per line. If the publication already exists in your profile it will not create duplicates, so feel free to paste in your entire list if you have that information handy. If not, you can just enter the PMIDs for publications you think are missing.
  • Add Custom – Don’t use this unless you know the publication is not in PubMed. It’s always better to Add PubMed or Add by ID if you can. When adding a custom pub you will be asked to choose the publication type, then fill out the form that follows. If you know your publication has a DOI, please consider adding the DOI URL in the “Website URL” field.

What are the lists of networks on the right side of my profile?

  • The lists at the right side of a BU Profiles page are passive networks that are formed automatically when people share common traits, such as being in the same department. BU Profiles also provides a summary of the expertise represented in a person’s publications.
  • This summary is organized in a series of MeSH terms used by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) to index the MEDLINE publications in each Profile.
  • Lists of concepts, co-authors and similar people from Boston University are derived from publications and are created automatically based on the MeSH terms.
  • Department lists are determined automatically and reflect people in your home department.
  • Concepts cannot be edited directly because they are derived automatically from the PubMed articles listed with your profile. You can improve these lists by keeping your publications up to date. See below under ‘Can I edit my concepts?’ for more information.
  • If you have missing publications that you know should be in PubMed, there are two easy ways to add them. Make sure you’re logged in, search for your profile and choose “edit this profile” from the menu. Within the “publications” section you can:

What are Network Visualizations?

BU Profiles includes several different ways to view networks, including:
  • Concept Clouds: highlight a person's areas of research based on MeSH terms.
  • Map Views: show where a person's co-authors are located.
  • Radial Network Views: illustrate clusters of connectivity among related people.
  • Cluster: shows co-authors, number of publications and co-author connection strength.

How can I create or edit "my network"?

You must be logged in to create or edit a network. Active networks (which you define) are shown on the left side of the page. When you log in and view other people's profiles, you can mark other individuals as collaborators, advisors, or advisees, to build your own network of close collaborators. Currently, only you can see the networks that you build. In the future you will be able to share these lists with others.

Privacy Settings / Can I hide information in Profiles?

Only you (or your assigned Proxy) has control over your information and only you can select which sections of your profiles page is displayed or hidden. Each section has a privacy setting, which can be changed by clicking on “Edit Visibility” after clicking on the desired item to change. There are 4 different privacy visibility settings:
  • Owner: Only the profile Owner and special authorized users who manage the website
  • Users: Limited to people who have logged into BU Profiles (so generally the BU community)
  • No Search: Open to the general public, but blocked to certain (but not all) search engines such as Google.
  • Public: Open to the general public and may be indexed by search engines. This is typically the default, and recommended setting.
Your positions are publically visible and cannot be changed. Individual records in the same section cannot be set with different visibility settings at this time. For example, you can’t set some awards/honors as public and others as owner. That may change in a future release.

What are the sources of data for Profiles?

All default data on individual profiles is currently available on other public web sites or has been approved by each school for release. These include:
  • Human Resources data from SAP.
  • Appointment information from the BU faculty database
  • Publications from MEDLINE/PubMed citation database.
  • NIH RePORTER grants
  • Researchers also contribute their own information as part of editing a profile.

Can I allow someone else to edit my profile?

In BU Profiles you can assign a proxy to manage your profile. There are many default proxies who can assist you with editing a Profile. To view or manage your Proxies, log in and click manage proxies. If the person you want to add to manage your profile is not listed, you can request help. Provide us with his or her name and contact information and they will be loaded into the system and made a proxy for you.

What are the system requirements for using Profiles?

Profiles RNS works best using any of the following Operating Systems / Browsers:
  • Windows & Mac / Chrome
  • Windows / Internet Explorer 7, 8
  • Windows / Firefox 3+
  • Windows / Opera 10+
  • Macintosh / Firefox 3+
  • Macintosh / Safari 3+
If you are using an older browser or a browser not listed above, you may experience some errors in functionality.

Who maintains Profiles?

BU Profiles is managed by the BUMC IT department at the Medical Campus with support from the BUMC IT Help Desk. You can request help or contact us if you have ideas on how to improve Profiles. We look forward to hearing from you if BU Profiles has enhanced your research or educational experience in any way

Success stories will help us further enhance and support tools like BU Profiles. To tell us how we’re doing or for questions please use the feedback form.

Who created Profiles?

This service is made possible by the Profiles Research Networking Software (Profiles RNS) developed under the supervision of Griffin M Weber, MD, PhD, with support from Grant Number 1 UL1 RR025758-01 to Harvard Catalyst: The Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center from the National Center for Research Resources and support from Harvard University and its affiliated academic healthcare centers. To learn more about Profiles RNS visit

Where can I get help with using BU Profiles?

If you have questions about BU Profiles, need help editing a profile or have issues with profile data, please request help.