20 years

Powering the
Research Management

Powering the research management ecosystem Symplectic's goal is to reduce the administrative burden on researchers, in order to help them get on with doing what they're best at - research.

We work in pursuit of the advancement of knowledge, delivering flexible research solutions that help universities, institutions and funding organisations achieve their research goals.


Symplectic is launched out of Imperial College

Symplectic is created At Imperial College by four friends studying theoretical physics: Daniel Hook, John Fearns, Marko Ivin & Phil Parkin.

John Fearns: "Theoretical physics can get quite lonely! Collaborating with colleagues, focusing on real world tasks and sharing the success is a way of working I much prefer."



Publications functionality trialled at Imperial College across Faculty of Medicine & Faculty of Life Science

During their research, the founders realised that university staff and researchers were in need of simple, effective software to enable academic institutions to collect, contextualise and raise visibility of their research outputs.


Elements launches across Imperial as "Symplectic Publications"

John Fearns: "Elements began with helping academics tell their university what they're doing; you don't want to be spending all day filling out sheets when you can click a button and do it in two minutes - that's exactly where (and why) we entered the market."

They remain a client to this day.


Worldwide Cancer Research (then known as the Association for International Cancer Research) becomes the first Grant Tracker client. They remain a client to this day.


Versus Arthritis (then known as Arthritis Research UK) becomes a Grant Tracker client. They remain a client to this day.


Symplectic Publications explores interoperability, integrating with DSpace, InfoEd and RAE systems.

"Leveraging the interoperability between Symplectic Elements and DSpace has increased policy-driven institutional repository deposits by over 350%."


"Symplectic Publications" rebrands as Symplectic Elements

✔️ First commercially available research information management system to draw on data from external sources to populate records and save academic time.

✔️ First commercially available research information management system to draw on multiple external sources and to handle this gracefully.

✔️ First research information management system to connect to a digital repository and be "open access aware".

University of Cambridge becomes a Symplectic Elements client. They remain a client to this day.

University of Oxford becomes a Symplectic Elements client. They remain a client to this day.

Alzheimer's Research UK becomes a Symplectic Elements client. They remain a client to this day.


University of Auckland becomes the first Elements client outside of the UK, forging the way to Symplectic becoming a truly global company. They remain a client to this day.


Digital Science is launched out of Nature Publishing Group

On 7th December 2010, a crowd gathered in the atrium of the old Nature building in Crinan Street, with champagne glasses charged to toast the launch of a new initiative at Nature: A new division dedicated to the development of software to support researchers, codenamed "Project Babbage".


Symplectic announces an Elements module focused on interfacing with popular institutional repository platforms to help drive open access initiatives.


Symplectic becomes part of Digital Science

"I've been quite fortunate at Digital Science in that Digital Science made the major strategic decision to invest in start-up companies, so I've effectively worked with a lot of entrepreneurs; people who have taken the risk to start their own business or their own venture. I would call those the visionaries, the people who have got a really great idea or a problem to solve or something they've seen in the industry that we work in that needs improving."


Jonathan Breeze joins Symplectic from Imperial College London and moves into the role of CEO as Daniel Hook moves onto the central Digital Science team, later to become CEO of Digital Science in 2015.

"Symplectic operates in a very exciting space and I am really looking forward to taking a leading role in shaping the company's future".

Duke University becomes the first Elements client in North America. They remain a client to this day.



Elements is widened out from its primary role as a publication management system to encompass all scholarly activities a researcher would be associated with, such as research data, grants, teaching and professional activities. Over time, the system went through multiple evolutions, working closely with the research community to add functionality specific to their needs.

Natural History Museum becomes a Symplectic Elements client. They remain a client to this day.

The Natural History Museum houses over 70 million natural history specimens, including six million rare books and an extensive collection of specimens collected by Charles Darwin during his research career. Elements allows staff at the museum to drastically reduce the time spent collecting bibliographic data and maintaining records of their research activity.

Research Excellence Framework (REF) Steering Committee formed

The Higher Education Funding Council of England announces its OA framework for the REF, mandating OA to guarantee future research funding.

"There is no single way for a vendor to prescribe functionality to the research community, so it's far better to be consultative and work together in partnership. Over time, working through REF 2014 and then REF 2021, we developed the trust from clients that we could work with them effectively to solve the challenges set by the Research Council."


Symplectic becomes the first Registered Service Provider for the VIVO project, an open source semantic web application which - when populated with information from research information management systems such as Elements - builds out discoverable public profiles for institutional researchers.


ORCiD integration, CV export, REF2014 steering committee
Symplectic develop an On Acceptance workflow for researchers to be encouraged to deposit their works after being accepted for publication, ahead of HEFCE's mandates coming into effect.


OA Monitor, Figshare as a data source, Dimensions as a grants data source


Cloud hosting, Impact Module, Assessment Module


2 way repository integration, automated harvesting


Figshare integration, Dimensions as a publications data source

Symplectic celebrates its 10th Anniversary

The University of California awards contract to Symplectic for the implementation of a publication harvesting system to support UC's Open Access Policy.

Wellcome Trust goes live with Grant Tracker, managing £800m of awards.


Carnegie Mellon University partners with Digital Science to roll out Symplectic Elements, Dimensions, Figshare for Institution and Altmetric Explorer.

"The library is at the heart of the work of the institution and must provide a reimagined 'intellectual commons' for a campus community. With this partnership, we have the opportunity to position ourselves as a world leader in the development of the scholarly ecosystem."

Improved integrations throughout the Digital Science ecosystem.


The Ohio Innovation Exchange (OIEx) launches in 2018.

Built upon Symplectic Elements and Dimensions, OIEx is a searchable web portal of experts, equipment and services, designed to connect Ohio's academic experts with business and industry to drive innovation.


Symplectic Elements is ranked first in customer satisfaction in a 2018 OCLC Global Survey & Report, with a 91% satisfaction rate.

⭐ Macmillan Cancer Support becomes a Grant Tracker client. They remain a client to this day.

"This grants management system will streamline our research funding management processes, providing valuable time for our teams to focus on ensuring that Macmillan's research investments maximise their potential for improving the lives of people with cancer."


Discovery Module is launched to deliver Public Profiles

When Elements was first introduced to institutions to assist with the automated capture of publication information its full potential was unclear. However, institutions soon realised Elements could also help them showcase their researchers' work and expertise externally through public profiles.

"In an age of public knowledge and interdisciplinary research, it is really important to make ourselves available. We need something that can make that information come to the surface easily but also in a way that people can browse and search."


Discovery module, Reporting & Analytics


v6 release, 2 way ORCiD integration


Research Funding Solution launched, Dimensions enhancement (preprints, SDG labels), Equipment profiles in Discovery


Impact module launched

Symplectic confirmed as an ORCID Certified Service Provider, giving ORCID members a reduced go-live time when integrating ORCID iDs into Elements.

REF 2021

The Symplectic REF Team worked closely with the steering group following the publication of the new 2021 guidelines, rapidly revising the approach to metadata structures and realigning workflows to fit the new regulations in real-time.

"The support we received from the Symplectic team was incredible, and I know the team had to work at pace to get the REF functionality ready given the guidance and submission system requirements were late coming out [from Research England]."


Elements v6 launches

Version 6 was designed with the aim of exceeding all design and ease-of-use expectations and brings to life the most straightforward platform in the market - truly eliminating burden wherever possible.


Symplectic and CC Technology become one team

A fellow sister company of Digital Science, CC Technology, joins Symplectic to become one team focussing on the research and grants ecosystem.

Their flagship platform, CC Grant Tracker manages the entire end-to-end lifecycle of a grant, from the launch of a call for proposals through to the monitoring and evaluation of performance and impact. Clients include some of the world's largest research funders, public bodies, and international development charities, including Wellcome Trust, Leverhulme Trust, Caribbean Development Bank, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

"We are very excited to announce we are joining forces with Symplectic. Through this, we will work together in pursuit of the advancement of knowledge, delivering flexible research solutions and providing innovative support for the whole grants lifecycle."

CC Grant Tracker becomes Symplectic Grant Tracker, with a redefined focus is now on meeting the specified needs of research funders.

Built upon Symplectic Elements and Dimensions, OIEx is a searchable web portal of experts, equipment and services, designed to connect Ohio's academic experts with business and industry to drive innovation.

🔬 Symplectic Grant Tracker delivers effective, impactful grants management for the research funding lifecycle.

With 15+ years of streamlining the management and administration of grant-making, we now specialise in empowering mission-driven organisations to make strategic funding decisions.


Symplectic celebrates its 20th anniversary. Amongst others, we now serve:

  • Thirteen of the Top 25 universities in the world, and 25 of the Top 100 (Times Higher Education rankings)
  • Nine Russell Group universities in the UK
  • Three Ivy League universities in the US
  • Three Group of Eight universities in Australia
  • Leading long-term clients such as the University of Oxford, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Auckland, and the National History Museum (UK)
  • Research funding and philanthropic clients such as The Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Macmillan Cancer Support, and Worldwide Cancer Research.

It is critical to our state’s economy that we utilise every aspect of our knowledge
and innovation talent across the public and private sectors. We’re incredibly proud
of what we’ve created with OIEx − better connecting the experts and resources at our
state research universities to the industries that can utilise them to push their breakthrough ideas to fruition.

John Carey, Chanceller, Ohio Department of Higher Education

We wanted to create a single, multi-university resource that provides
enhanced visibility into expertise, equipment and research
support services and available IP.

Tim Cain, Ohio Innovation Exchange

This tool connects our scholarly and research expertise with audiences like media,
prospective graduate students, and academic collaborators, while simultaneously
helping faculty keep track of the very important work they do. It is a game-changer for U of T.

Associate Vice-President Research, University of Toronto

The deeply integrated environment we now have will greatly enhance
our ability to manage the range of repository activities and strengthen
our position in preparing for any future research assessment exercises.

Digital Development Manager, University of Sussex

It helps keep us organised and keeps everything in one place.

Peter Fisher, Worldwide Cancer Research

Researcher profiles and end-to-end funded research
project management all now take place in the one interface,
which has huge benefits to our researchers.

Liam Cleere, University College Dublin

The discovery module has provided a delightful and fantastic
searchable public interface to our to our faculty.

Paul Bergen, Tufts University

The rate of deposit has increased by 1000% within 12 months following the switch-on of
the publication prompt in Elements and discussion about the HEFCE Open Access policy.

Queen Mary University of London

Elements impressed us with its simplicity, flexibility and control
for individual faculty members, and great responsiveness with customer service.

Clarke Iakovakis, Oklahoma State University

I think the most important feature Symplectic Elements came with was interoperability
The fact that it had that flow through profiles to the repository was really, really valuable for us.

Research Advisor, La Trobe University