The Office of the Vice Provost for Research is announcing a data visualization challenge focused on a rich dataset describing research activity and output of Duke researchers. The datasets are from Scholars@Duke ( and they describe publications, authorships, and scholarly collaborations from university researchers.

The challenge. Create visualizations to capture the richness and dynamism of Duke research. Envisioning Duke Research | Visualizing Scholars@Duke

A little about the data. The dataset contains information about published items and authors. The data encompasses bibliographical information and abstracts, publication venue (including journals and conferences), and a co-authorship network. Other information can be obtained via the Scholars@Duke website. Complete data files are available to the Duke community on Duke’s Box (NetID authentication required). To get more information about the data, consult the README file. You may use other datasets in conjunction with the Scholars@Duke data to enrich your visualizations, as long as the data are not encumbered by proprietary restrictions or are otherwise sensitive. If you use another publicly available dataset, you must provide a reference to that data. Code used in your project should accompany your submission, and please indicate as completely as possible the software and the methods you used to execute your visualization project.

Visualization Consulting. Duke University Libraries Data and Visualization Services offers consulting services for data analysis and visualization. Contestants seeking a consultation should contact

How to take part. Download the data. Indicate your intent to submit a visualization by email by midnight, Sunday, January 15, 2017 (see instructions below). Register to attend the Duke Research Computing Symposium on January 20 and the poster session on January 19, and get your visualization ready to post on January 19.

The prizes. First prize is $500, second prize is $250, and third prize will be awarded $100. Entries to the special challenge will be part of the Duke Research Computing Symposium poster session to be held at the Technology Engagement Center (TEC) in 19-20 January 2017. Prize-winning entries will be on display at the TEC for the calendar year 2017. Judges of the posters are experts in data analysis and visualization in the Duke community.

Need computing help? Teams intending to submit visualizations for the challenge can obtain RAPID virtual machines on request. Teams will be allotted 4 CPU cores, 40 GB of RAM, and 100 GB of storage for virtual machines created in Research Toolkits ( Virtual machines and storage volumes will be deactivated at the close of the challenge. A request for access to Research Toolkits and the special challenge allocation can be emailed to All regular rank faculty have access to Research Toolkits by default, and faculty wishing to take part can request additional CPU cores, RAM, and storage for the duration of the challenge.

What to put in your email submission. Please send an email to with the following information:

In the “subject” line: “2017 Scholars@Duke vis challenge

In the “message” section:

  • A list of team members or authors with their affiliations.
  • The title of the submission.
  • A brief abstract for the submission written in a manner that is understandable by broadly educated readers.


Posters are due to be displayed at the Technology Engagement Center (Telcom Building) on Thursday, January 19, and will remain in place through Friday, January 20. Information about the format of the posters will be provided later, as well as the means of supplying code and information on visualization methods.