Expert finder systems have been serving universities, businesses, and the research community for more than two decades. However, until the inaugural EFS National Forum in 2019, there was no formal venue for EFS stakeholders to network, learn from each other, and help steer the future of this dynamic field.
Having founded Florida ExpertNet more than two decades ago, CIMES is an industry leader in the area of expert finder systems and research information management systems. So it was a natural progression for CIMES to work with owners of other expert finder systems, researchers, and vendors to promote the development of the field.
CIMES became the founding organizer and sponsor of the International Forum on Expert Finder Systems. The forum brings together builders and users of expert finder systems with decision makers and other stakeholders to talk about research and trends in EFS and prospects for building a community of practice for EFS professionals.
More than 70 people attended that first event, from as far away as Canada and Colorado. A post-event survey reflected enthusiasm for a follow up, which was offered as a free virtual series in January–April of 2021. Three free webinars gained a large audience in 2022, and more than 110 people returned for a face-to-face event in Miami on April 5-6, 2023.
The International Forum on Expert Finder Systems provides an opportunity for an international dialogue on EFS. Attendees share information and insights about the current uses of such systems, the need for new features and functionalities to support emerging uses, best practices for starting and managing expert finder systems, strategies for enhancing stakeholder engagement, and ways to assess economic and other impacts. Presenters include research information management system administrators and researchers, economic development professionals, university research development professionals, university librarians, platform providers, scholarly communications experts, and more.
In addition to providing overall coordination for EFS Forum virtual and in-person events, CIMES has developed numerous products to promote and advance this initiative, including: