Subject Matter Expertise Reference System (SMERS)

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is seeking statements of capability or interest from parties interested in collaborative research to further develop, evaluate, or commercialize a search engine for PubMed and other information warehouses. As a Research Tool, patent protection is not being pursued for this technology.

The current invention relating to Subject Matter Expertise Reference System (SMERS)
is the methodology or systematic approach used to supplement PubMed search results with unique data elements/metrics that can help end-users distinguish between senior and junior investigators. Currently, the Subject Matter Expertise Reference System (SMERS) uses PubMed data, but this approach can be more widely adapted to other databases as long as there exists both an author list and one other searchable term. Other inventions under refinement within Subject Matter Expertise Reference System (SMERS) include the ability to utilize information to exclude certain results, for example to determine conflicts of interest and exclude those personnel or institutions from search results.

Development Status:
Software is currently in use with PubMed data and the above functionalities can be demonstrated. Additional refinements and new approaches are also under development.

Type of Collaborations of Interest:
Additional resources for hardware, software and related expertise to facilitate further development.

Potential Commercial Applications: Competitive Advantages:
  • adoption across reference-specific or related database systems;
  • identification of individual experts or groups of experts, institutions or groups of institutions, and/or related data domains or associations contained among the dataset;
  • facilitates the identification of potential presentation speakers, as part of faculty searches, identifying potential editorial board members, and other uses;
  • can be included as part of a fee-for-service model, or can be included with no direct charge for instance as part of an advertisement revenue strategy, or as a public service e.g. by government agencies or other non-profit or for-profit organizations.

A consistent need exits to identify highly qualified scientific or technical experts to, for example, conduct marketing assessments, participate in focus groups or review panels, or provide expert testimony. Based on this need, organizations or individuals may turn to public literature databases such as PubMed to help identify such specialists.

Development Stage:


Intellectual Property:

Collaboration Opportunity:

Licensing only

Licensing Contact:
John Hewes, Ph.D.
Phone: 240-276-5515

OTT Reference No: E-185-2010
Updated: Jul 19, 2018