Mar 7, 2024

Chair's Column: Transitioning from Web CV to Elements

Clip art of a CV on a desk

By now, many of you have heard that we are finally going to be making the transition from WebCV to a new online tool for curriculum vitae (CV) management.

This journey began a ridiculously long time ago, in 2016. In our 2015 faculty survey, a hot topic of concern was the Faculty of Medicine’s WebCV. Faculty described it, then, as an “…extremely unwieldy and excessively time-consuming tool.” In May 2016, the Faculty of Medicine decided to end its support for WebCV; our department decided to continue to use WebCV until a replacement was found.

Led by department member and Emergency Medicine physician Sam Sabbah, an inter-departmental working group was launched to explore options for CV management and activity reporting. An environmental scan and subsequent request for proposals identified no clear market leader; most solutions used by other academic organizations in Canada shared many of the same challenges that WebCV users had experienced. Importantly, none addressed our need to incorporate creative professional activities (CPA), formal and informal teaching and educational scholarship, that are key activities within our department and the faculty overall.

Around the same time, the university was seeking an online tool by which to highlight, celebrate, and promote research and researchers at UofT. They selected Discover Research, which is driven by a platform called Elements. It became clear that through adaptations to the Elements platform, we could solve our CV management and reporting needs.

Under the leadership of Joanna King, Office of the Vice Dean, Research & Health Science Education (and formally Research Admin lead in DoM), and Kate Park, MedIT, Temerty Faculty of Medicine, the department has been working to advise on these adaptations. A volunteer DoM working group was established with representation across our academic position descriptions and comprised of folks who had recently used WedCV for the purposes of CFAR or Senior Promotion. Sincere thanks to Drs. Jeffrey Wang and Martina Trinkaus (clinician teachers), Trevor Jamieson (clinician in quality and innovation), Ivy Cheng (clinician investigator), and Shiphra Ginsburg, Karen Okrainec, and Ayelet Kuper (clinician scientists). The working group has reviewed the Elements platform, gathered CV and WebCV reports and, in one-on-one meetings, viewed their data in the test environment followed by iterative refinement to confirm curation accuracy and address questions. DoM staff and faculty leads for continuing faculty appointment review (CFAR) and Senior Promotions have been consulted along the way to ensure the necessary data are there and in the correct format.  Together, the group has been working hard to ensure that the Elements platform will meet clinical faculty members’ needs for annual activity reporting, CFAR, and senior promotion.

For those of you who are used to producing a Common CV for submission of grants to CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC – the Tri-Agency – there is very exciting news! They have recently launched the Tri-Agency CV, a narrative style CV template, that will eventually replace the Common CV. While this is still in the pilot phase, Symplectic (the company behind Elements) is in talks with the Tri-Agency and is developing a report that will generate a Tri-Agency CV as a standard extract from Elements. You won’t likely see this until 2025 funding cycles, but it is great to see this moving forward.

Whether you know it or not, you should already have an Elements profile. Check it out. To access your profile, you will need your UTORID and password. If you can’t remember your UTORID, ask Kim and Simran in our appointment’s office ( The information you find has been populated from publicly available automated data from trusted sources, such as PubMed and your hospital web pages. You will see that it is readily editable and that you can control the privacy settings to make all or parts of your profile visible on DiscoverResearch. Even in its current form, you may choose to use this tool to publicly showcase your expertise, signal availability for media requests and graduate student supervision, and identify others with similar interests for collaboration opportunities.

This is what my cover page in Elements looks like:

Gillian Hawker's Elements profile

The additions to Elements that will address CPA, teaching and education, mentorship, etc. are coming over the next few months as the working group finalizes and pilots their recommendations. This will allow you to download up-to-date CVs and activity reports using Elements and in the formats required by the university.

How will the data currently in WebCV be transferred to Elements?

I know this is a major concern for many of you. Publications are automatically uploaded from open sources, but you will need to review them and “claim” or “reject” what you wish to include – this includes publications and conference presentations of abstracts.  

The teaching data from WebCV will be batch uploaded into Elements. Uploads in the test environment will be done first to make sure this works smoothly. Dedicated work study students will be hired for the summer (2024) to assist with data migration and curation.

Other data in WebCV will need to be manually extracted by work study students. A project plan will be developed for this between now and May when the students start. 

We will prioritize our new recruits and those in their first 3-5 years who will be undergoing CFAR, as well as those applying for senior promotion, to be transitioned first. This will take time. We will not decommission WebCV until we have everyone transitioned!

The data transfer process will require you to provide consent to have your materials used by the curation team to update your profile; in providing consent, you will also be asked to send an updated CV – any format is fine! The link to the form is here. If you are using a email, you will be able to upload your CV directly into the form – if not, you can simply email your CV to

Stay tuned. Over the summer, you will be receiving a communication from the Temerty Faculty of Medicine providing an Elements update and training materials to increase engagement and public profiles on Discover Research.