Information can be entered once and used to produce a variety of reports. Individual faculty members can produce an annual report, a promotion and tenure dossier, or a vita, for example. Faculty can make their works available to the public by depositing them into the VTechWorks institutional repository. Department heads, deans, and administrators can produce reports about the activities of faculty in their unit, including for accreditation purposes.

Elements is the technology behind Virginia Tech EFARS. Elements is a database system developed by Symplectic to collect information about faculty activities and make that information available for multiple uses, such as creating CVs, promotion and tenure dossiers, and annual activity reports for faculty members, showcasing scholarship through public-facing web profiles, and producing department, college, and university level reports. Elements also makes it easy for faculty members to deposit documents into VTechWorks, our institutional repository.

Department heads and their designees will have access to data on faculty in their department. Likewise, deans and their designees will have access to data on faculty in their college, and the provost will have access to data on all faculty.

Information that appears on a faculty member's profile page is visible to other Virginia Tech faculty members. Individual activities can be hidden by clicking on the "eyeball" icon.

Elements imports information about publications from external databases such as Web of Science, PubMed, SSRN, and ArXiv.  Faculty members can also upload information about their scholarship from Google Scholar or EndNote. Information about teaching and sponsored research is imported from Banner. Faculty members can also enter information manually.

No, you only need to report the same data that you have included on your FAR in the past. Required fields are clearly indicated.

The first thing to check when an activity does not appear as expected on your report is the dates. Every activity must have a date associated with it in order to be included on a report, and the date of the activity must fall within the date range specified for the report. 

Date fields are at the bottom of most data entry screens. If an activity was a one time event but the data entry screen includes fields for start and end dates, just fill in the end date and leave the start date blank. If an activity is ongoing, enter a start date and leave the end date blank.

Keep in mind that the system is designed to produce a variety of reports in addition to the FAR, so you may enter some items that are not currently included in the FAR.

VTechWorks, Virginia Tech's open institutional repository, publicizes and preserves the scholarly work of Virginia Tech faculty, students, and staff: journal articles, books, theses, dissertations, conference papers, slide presentations, technical reports, working papers, administrative documents, videos, images, data sets, and more. Research in VTechWorks is easily discovered in commercial search engines such as Google Scholar, is given a persistent link or URI (uniform resource identifier), and is preserved by VT Libraries. 

Contact to get help adding your content to VTechWorks or visit the Open@VT blog to learn about current VTechWorks activities.

ORCID stands for Open Researcher and Contributor Identifier. It is a unique number that helps people and machines tell the difference between the Dr. Jane Doe who's an expert in Mechanical Engineering and the Dr. Jane Doe who's an expert in Latin American History. In a world where researchers and research publications have profiles in multiple systems (ResearchGate, Google Scholar, Web of Science and other scholarly databases, funder websites, and more), an ORCID is a crucial tool for linking people and research activities such as a grant proposal and the publications that emerge from it.

See Virginia Tech's LibGuide on ORCID at Find out more about ORCID at  See a brief video of how ORCID integrates with Elements at

VIVO is an open-source application that enables researchers to discover, connect, and collaborate across disciplines and organizations. It creates a set of public-facing profiles for researchers. Trusted, verified data in the profiles is structured and exposed to support searching across individual institutions and across the global VIVO network, made up of more than 100 institutions and agencies in more than 30 countries who are collaborating to produce and use VIVO-compliant data. 

Institutions in the VIVO network, such as Virginia Tech, implement local installations of the VIVO platform, manage data locally, and control access to semantic-web compliant applications. Faculty profile information from the EFAR system will be used to populated Virginia Tech's VIVO instance, known as CollabVT.

How much historical data to enter is up to you.

For this year's annual report, you must enter data starting January 1, 2016. 

If you will need to produce a dossier for promotion and/or tenure in the next few years, you may want to enter all the information you will need to include in your dossier.

If your college or department has accreditation requirements that include several years of historic data, the college or department may ask you to enter data for that purpose.

Google Scholar does not make its data available for export into other systems. Google Scholar is also not transparent about its algorithms for data collection. You can find more information about the limitations of Google Scholar here:

Open Access refers to the removal of price and permissions barriers to peer-reviewed research.  Open access can be achieved by:

1. Publishing in an open access journal

2. Archiving an article version

Virginia Tech Libraries has more information about open access at

The publications histogram is updated overnight. Activities entered today will show up on the histogram tomorrow.

Records of Impact are a way for faculty to provide a narrative about their work, link the narrative to activities recorded in the system such as grants and publications, and attach documentation of the impact of their work outside the academy. Records of Impact are not currently programmed into the dossier or annual report, but we are currently exploring how we might do that in the future. Faculty who work in extension and faculty who produce creative works are particularly interested in this functionality.

Anyone with an account in the Elements EFAR system can see your profile page. Currently this includes all instructional and research faculty and some administrative and professional faculty at Virginia Tech, as well as extension agents at Virginia Tech and Virginia State University.

In the future we will use data in Elements to feed public web profiles visible on the internet.

How do I ...

Teaching evaluations (SPOT scores) cannot be entered into the EFAR system at this time. 

You may need to generate your report as a Word document and add or attach the SPOT scores manually.

Online databases do not distinguish between peer-reviewed/refereed and non-peer-reviewed/refereed journal articles, so for articles that are peer reviewed/refereed you will need to change the activity type from "Journal Article" to "Refereed Journal Article". You can do that on the "My Publications" screen. Under the title of each article, on the "Summary" tab, look for the small pencil icon next to "Journal article". Click on the pencil icon to see a drop down menu for "Type" and select "Refereed Journal Article", then click Save.

Follow this same procedure to change a book chapter to a journal article, etc.

Screen capture of changing the activity type
Screen capture of changing the activity type step 2

After you have entered information about your activity, click on the title to go to the detailed information page for that activity. Look for "Labels" at the top of the page and click on "Add labels". In the box that appears, click the "+" by "VT Strategic Initiatives" and select the appropriate label.

Screen capture of Label entry
Screen capture of VT Strategic Initiatives label

From the Home page, click the Menu tab, then look under Build and click on CV and Reports. Choose the report and select a date range and format (Word or PDF).

From the Profile page, look for the CV and Reports button on the upper right, under the Virginia Tech logo. Click the CV and Reports button, then select the report, date range, and format.

Annual reports and promotion and tenure dossiers generated from Elements should be considered drafts. Personal statements, course evaluations, and goals will need to be added manually. 

If your scholarly activities are not captured by online databases searchable by Elements, you may want to turn off the search function. Go to Menu>Search settings, scroll to the bottom of the Publications search settings page, and click to remove any check marks in the boxes in the Currently searched column, then click Save.

On the My Publications screen, find the item that you want to deposit and look for the pale blue icon with an up arrow in the row of icons for that entry. Click on the icon to navigate to the Deposit page. Review the instructions and deposit advice, then upload the file to be deposited. If you have questions about copyright restrictions, consult your liaison librarian or email   

If you have already deposited an item into VTechWorks, do not deposit it again. Go to the item in VTechWorks and copy the URI. (The URI will look something like Paste the URI into the Author URL field in Elements. The item will appear as "not deposited" in Elements, but the Elements record will be linked with the original item that you deposited in VTechWorks.

Review the guidance document below. You may also want to consult with a librarian.  See More help with search settings.

Instead of deleting duplicate entries,  join duplicate entries together by clicking the greenish icon next to the red X to add both entries to the “workspace”, then go to the workspace and join them together. Access the workspace with the button on the black bar at the top of the page, next to the help and envelope icons. You can designate a preferred record for reporting purposes.
If you really want to delete an entry, go to the activity summary page, where all activities are listed, and look for the row of icons on the lower right of the entry - five round icons, different colors and images. The one on the far right should be a red circle with a white X in the middle. Click on the red X to remove that entry.


You cannot edit data imported from an online database, but you can add a manual record to correct or add additional information about a publication.  Click on the title or the magnifying glass icon to go to the detailed information about the publication, and click on Add Manual Record. Once you have entered the desired information, click Set as Preferred Record.

Information about sponsored research is imported into Elements from Virginia Tech's Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) and is updated monthly. You cannot edit the imported information, but you can "Add a manual record" to change the way information appears in Elements. If you believe the information from OSP is incorrect or have other questions about that data, please contact Katie Reaves