Tools of the Trade | September / October 2016

Tools of the Trade | September/October 2016


The academic search engine metaBUS launched this summer after four years of development and testing by three founding institutions—the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada; the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Edmonton; and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond. The engine not only offers a huge collection of curated, published research findings, but also performs meta-analysis on the findings.

The team behind metaBUS has coded nearly 1 million journal findings dating back to 1980 in the fields of organizational psychology and human resources. Instead of manually finding, reading, and summarizing journal articles, users will be able to use metaBUS to create field-level summaries in real time by classifying metadata. It is free for registered users and includes some data from journal articles that are currently locked behind subscription paywalls.

According to the company announcement, “MetaBUS takes every scientific finding from every article over the last 25 years across all of the research journals in a field and tags them into a map of everything that has been studied by researchers around the world. By selecting any topic on the map, researchers can link to every article with data on that topic and see what else has been examined in relation to that topic. By selecting any two topics, researchers can instantly see a synthesis of all of the studies on that topic, and then explore differences by country of origin, gender, and so on.”

The invention won the 2013 Digging Into Data Challenge, a grant program sponsored by research funders from around the world. It also was recognized by AACSB International as one of the top entries in its Innovations That Inspire initiative. Visit


The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia has launched the free, nonpartisan, and interactive Penn Wharton Budget Model to allow policymakers and the public to understand the economic and fiscal implications of proposed policies in the U.S. The first available models will allow users to test more than 4,000 different Social Security combinations and 125 immigration policy combinations. Additional modules in development will relate to healthcare, criminal justice, education, retirement, housing, and tax reform. The Budget Model was developed by a team of former Congressional Budget Office and Treasury Department economists under the leadership of Kent Smetters, Wharton Boettner Professor and professor of business economics and public policy. Read more at For video of Smetters discussing the Budget Model, visit


Merit, an online platform where schools can showcase their students’ achievements, has introduced several updates. These include features that allow marketing officers to canvass colleagues throughout the institution for stories of student accomplishment, and then share those stories with donors, legislators, local media, and employers. The platform also has added marketing calendars to help users establish content timelines, and it has introduced free accounts for high school students who want to see the college stories of alumni from their schools. Visit