Project Overview#

Academic profiles of scientists and organisations are utilised in and around the scientific community – because they help us understand individual productivity and reputation and provide insights into the collective knowledge-making process of human kind.

The Influence Flower is a new visual metaphor and a web-scale working system for presenting aggregated influence around a given academic entity – which could be a paper, a project, an author, an institution, a conference, a journal, or a topic, represented as a collection of papers. It is approved to become a plugin on (the most-used preprint server in STEM) with expected integration late 2022.

Recently, the need to migrate and improve the data sources behind The Influence Flower has become apparent, in part due to the retirement of the openly available microsoft academic service, and the rise of Semantic Scholar and as its replacement.

The summer scholar will work with the developer and dev ops team to incorporate the new data sources and evaluate its quality and potential for enriching the influence flower app. This is a unique opportunity to contribute to a web application that has a potential audience consisting of millions of researchers, technical and computing professionals on a daily basis.

Productive students will be invited to contribute to the project longer-term as a (paid) research assistant.

  1. A general introduction to influence flowers
  2. Minjeong Shin, Alexander Soen, Benjamin T. Readshaw, Stephen M. Blackburn, Mitchell Whitelaw, Lexing Xie. Influence Flowers of Academic Entities, in the IEEE Conference on Visual Analytics Science & Technology (VAST) (IEEE VIS/VAST ‘19), Vancouver, Canada, 2019.


  • Knowledge and experience on databases, working knowledge of web-scale data stores or elastic search a plus.
  • Experience in collecting and processing data in python.
  • Experience in interactive webapps with javascript a plus.
  • Strong ability to critique the meaningfulness and correctness of data and plots.
  • Able to communicate technical ideas clearly, and work effectively in a research team.


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