Search using extracted keyphrases

Search using SIRIS SDG vocabulary


Do you need to find a collaborator for a new research or writing project? Perhaps you want to find out who across campus is working on a particular Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) or a specific topic or geographical area, or using a certain research method? Or you want to get an overview of the type of research that is going on across campus on each SDG so you can make more connections with potential collaborators. Until now, the tools available via the University website have not been capable of this type of search.

We have developed an online database that solves this problem. Now, if one day you need to quickly find a potential collaborator in an area you are unfamiliar with for a bid with a fast-approaching deadline, you are able to search our database and find useful results. You will immediately be able to see if there is a synergy between what you are looking for and the search results by viewing publication lists, abstracts and profile information within the app. From there you can rapidly follow up with potential collaborators by clicking through to their elements profiles to view their contact details.

Our database is open to Sussex academic and professional services staff, students and those outside of the University. Our vision is simple: we want to enable you to find Sussex staff quickly and easily relevant to your search enquiry. Our database provides two distinct search approaches that are different to the current on campus offering. First, it provides a general topic and keyword search function that uses a comprehensive list of keywords and keyphrases generated by a text mining algorithm. Second, it also provides an SDG topic search function which uses keywords and keyphrases developed specifically to identify and index SDG related research.

Open the sections below for user instructions.

How to use the database

  • There are three ways to search which are presented as three separate tabs along the top of the app: Keyphrase, SDG and Last name.
    • Keyphrase search covers the entire range of Sussex research so you can search for anything from ‘black holes’, ‘renaissance art’ or ‘fuel poverty’ and get results for your search. These keyphrases are generated by analysing the publications (titles, abstracts) and profiles (overview, research interests) of all Sussex academic staff to extract keywords and phrases that reflect the breadth of research at Sussex.
    • SDG search uses a predefined vocabulary designed for indexing research on the Sustainable Development Goals (more here). This means that only publications and profiles related to these SDGs will appear in the search results. Each SDG is described by a separate list of keywords and phrases. This allows you to search for profiles and publications that match a specific search term related to an SDG or to view all the profiles and publications that relate to any aspect of a single SDG.
    • Last name search allows you to view the profile and publications of someone you already know the name of and want to find out more about.
  • The results tabs:
    • The search results are displayed below the search boxes in three more tabs that each display a table of results.
    • Publication results: displays publications which match the search and filter keyphrases. Note that the number of results exceeds the actual number of publications because many publications have multiple authors and each author-publication combination is listed as a separate result.
    • This table includes columns for author first name, last name, publication title, publication year and a ‘url’ link to the person’s elements profile.
    • Abstracts can be viewed by clicking the triangle symbol which expands each item separately. Each abstract also contains a DOI link which will open the publication in a separate browser window. The author's department is also listed after the abstract.
    • Profile results: displays profiles of people whose profile details OR publications match the search and filter keyphrases. This table includes columns for author first name, last name, research, overview, department and a ‘url’ link to the person’s elements profile. The content of the research and overview fields can be expanded by clicking on the triangle symbol.
    • Author publications: displays a list of publications by any author who is selected in either the publications or profiles results tables. Click the radio button in the left-most column in either the publications or the profiles results tabs to select an author and then select the ‘Author publications’ tab to view the list.
  • Refining your search:
    • Filtering: search results can be filtered by selecting additional keyphrases or by location (continent, country, city). See below for more details.
    • Sort and search within results: the table of results can be sorted by column (e.g. if you want to view publications in date order with oldest first) and you can also search within each column of the results table using the free-text search boxes at the top of each column. This can be useful if you want to filter the profiles results by department.

To search by keyphrase

  • On the Keyphrase tab, in the ‘Search keyphrases’ box start typing the keyphrase you want to search by, for example ‘food wastage’.
  • As you type, the dropdown menu will display all keyphrases that match your search term. Once you select a keyphrase the search results will appear in a table below. As you select more keyphrases, more results will be added to the results table.
  • You can filter the results using the ‘Filter by keyphrase’ box. When you click on the box, all of the potential search options will appear in a dropdown and as you type your criteria the list of keyphrases will reduce to match your search term.
  • When you select a filter keyphrase the results table will update to show you items that contain your ‘search’ AND ‘filter’ keyphrases.
  • Multiple filter keyphrases can be selected and these gradually expand your search results again to include any results that match ‘search’ AND (‘filter 1’ OR ‘filter 2’ etc.)
  • Finally, you can filter your initial keyphrase (or your already filtered results) by continent, country or city. Click on the ‘Filter by location’ box and you will see a dropdown list of all the locations that match your current search results. You can either directly select a location or search within the list. Selecting a continent will display all results that match that continent or any country within that continent. Selecting a country or a city will only display results that explicitly match the country or city. E.g. Selecting ‘Asia’ will include publications that mention ‘India’ even if ‘Asia’ is not mentioned. However, it will not include publications that only mention ‘Delhi’, without specifying ‘India’.

To search by SDG

  • Go to the SDG tab to switch to this search method.
  • This search method uses the SIRIS SDG vocabulary to index the publication abstracts and profiles of Sussex academic staff.
  • You can search the entire list of keyphrases or limit them by first selecting one or more SDG in the SDG search box.
  • By selecting an SDG from the ‘Limit keywords by SDG’ you simultaneously get results for all publications and profiles matching that SDG while also reducing the list of keywords displayed in the ‘Search keyphrases’ box to only those which match your selected SDG.
  • The keyphrase search and filter boxes work the same way as described above.

To search by last name

  • Go to the Last name tab.
  • Type the name you are looking for in the last name search box and select it.
  • Profiles will appear below for anyone with the selected last name. If it is a common last name several profiles may be listed.
  • Select a profile to see all publications by that author. These will be displayed in the publications tab.

Video Tutorials

Click the headings below to expand the tutorial videos.

Part 1: Intro to search, view results and links

Part 2: Refining search results

Part 3: SDG search

Part 4: Last name search

Technical info

This web-app was designed and built by Dr Jonathan Dolley in consultation with Fiona Hurd and Fiona Marshall. It is an initiative by the Sussex Sustainability Research Programme (SSRP) with funding from the International Development Challenge Fund (IDCF), which is an internal funding mechanism financed by the University's Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).

It is written in R using the Shiny App package and runs on an sqlite database which is populated by downloading profiles and publications data (titles and abstracts) from the Elements Reporting database. This text data is then analysed in R using the udpipe package to run the Rapid Automatic Keyword Extraction (RAKE) algorithm to extract one, two and three-word keyphrases. This same data is also matched against the SIRIS SDG vocabulary and also against an open source list of places (continents, countries and cities) obtained from This entire process is written in R and runs on the server automatically once a week to keep the app updated.

The data for this app was updated from the elements reporting database on: Sun Feb 11 07:00:48 2024