Linked data for research funding – Dimensions for Universities and Elements v4.15

In June this year, we released the latest version of Elements, v4.15. Amongst other improvements, this included significant upgrades to the way Elements integrates with Dimensions for Universities, the research funding analysis tool, built by our partners ÜberResearch. Subscribers of Dimensions for Universities can now supplement the grant data held within Elements with grant data sourced directly from over 100 international funders; including the NIH, NSF, NSERC, RCUK, Royal Society, Wellcome Trust, NHMRC, ARC, the European Union and a growing list of other funders. Using the supplementary (and more complete) data from Dimensions, Elements will even automatically link the grant to its associated publications, saving considerable amount of time and effort.

To illustrate this, we’ve put together a demonstration of the Dimensions integration at work.

Here’s an example of a typical grant record at an institution:




Mr. Spock is the primary investigator for the grant named ‘Novel Polymers for Tissue Engineering.’ As you can see, the only information available on this grant is what’s been entered – the grant ID, the funder’s name, and the funder’s reference. It’s not connected to any other grants, publications, equipment, activities or users.



In a typical Elements setup, basic grant data can be entered via our manual entry wizard, or automatically imported from an existing grants database at the institution. In itself, this basic information doesn’t tell us much about the grant, the results of the funding, other researchers who may have been involved, or lend itself to any formal analysis.

Once Dimensions has been integrated with Elements, it’s quite a different story.


Screen Shot Links with captions crop


As you can see, our integration with Dimensions fills Elements with much more information about the grant, the majority of which is rarely captured in institutional grant management systems.

In addition to the funder title, funder name and funder reference, the following information is now shown:

  • Amount
  • Start and end dates
  • Associated PubMed identifiers
  • An external link to the record by the funder
  • Names of all the investigators on the grant
  • Fields of Research Classification

Using the associated PubMed IDs held in Dimensions, Elements will automatically link all publications (found in PubMed) associated with this grant. Not only does this massively extend the utility of the grants record, it also saves a significant amount of admin time. Having automatically associated these linked publications, Elements doesn’t require researchers or their administrators to create these connections manually.

When Dimensions is rolled out across an entire institution, this can potentially save thousands of hours of manual effort.

This automatic linking of rich data relevant to researchers and their work is critical for understanding the efficacy of a grant; how the funds were allocated, who benefitted from it, what activities resulted from it, and more. Combined with a data model optimised for reporting and analysis, this automated linking will help to generate better reports to funders.

From investigating these links, it’s possible to gain insight into research subjects and how funding affects them, as well as finding historical and potential links between researchers who have, or could, benefit from collaboration.

These rich data links extend outside of Elements too, when connected to a public-facing profile system; researchers can now showcase not only the outputs of their work, but who helped fund it, and how they’ve made use of it through their research – further showcasing the institution’s work and their collaboration opportunities.

Access to supplementary grant data requires a subscription to Dimensions for Universities and Elements v4.15 and above – please get in touch with us if you have any questions or comments. For more information on what you’ve read here, visit our Dimensions as a Data Source page.

With this partnership, we have the opportunity to position ourselves as
a world leader in the development of the scholarly ecosystem.

Keith Webster, Dean of University Libraries, Carnegie Mellon

I cannot overstate how pleased we have been.
We have to have confidence to work with a partner
for at least 5 years on a project of this size.

Caleb Smith, Senior Strategy Manager for Research Intelligence & Analytics, University of Michigan

“Faculty need only spend perhaps less than an hour a year to prepare and submit their annual reports.”

Associate Dean, Carnegie Mellon University at Qatar

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

Ellen Phillips, Open Access Specialist, Boston University

Elements elegantly connected our multi-university system providing a
single source of truth throughout OIEx.

Tim Cain, The Ohio Innovation Exchange (OIEx)

The University measures the individual research activity of academic staff. This Measure of Research Activity (MoRA) requires the collection of publication data from faculty. Symplectic Elements supports this beautifully.

Floris van der Leest, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia

[Elements] will help to bring transparency to the richness of thought showcased within non-traditional publications, providing a more holistic representation of faculties’ scholarly work.

Caleb Smith, University of Michigan

Feedback to date has been extremely positive from all levels across the University, with individual academics and colleagues actively promoting the ease of use of the system.

Rachel Baird, Research Policy Analyst, University of Liverpool