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Research Information


Elements is the University's research information management system, and provides a closed environment within which Cambridge researchers can create a profile and share information within the University of Cambridge community.

Elements is now the linchpin of research information management across the University, connecting, synchronising and collating information from a wide range of platforms. Through Symplectic Elements you can access material from a growing list of data sources including EuropePubMedCentral, Scopus and WebofScience,arXiv, as well as the alternative metrics of Altmetric, and searchable grant data through Dimensions. 

Keeping your profile up to date, adding information where appropriate and refining the search terms though which the system matches publications and other activity with your account is simple and quick to do, and vital to the quality of the data reported, so please login, check your record, claim (or reject) any pending publications and add any missing information, including identifiers such as ORCiD to your account. 

Please visit our Moodle site to find out more about how to amend various aspects of your profile.


Elements and Open Research

The open access and open data deposit service is integrated with Symplectic Elements. Open Access, making published research results freely available to anyone with an internet connection, is now required for all researchers at UK institutions and depositing via Symplectic will make this easier. For more information about Open Access you can email or read the Open Access FAQs.

Many of the research funders supporting work at the University of Cambridge require that research data are openly available with as few restrictions as possible. The Research Data team support Cambridge researchers in doing this, for more information please email or visit the research data website.

Depositing via Elements means that all research outputs can be submitted in one place and information on outputs and grants is stored centrally. For more information visit our support pages here


Elements and Researchfish

Researchfish is a web-based system used by UKRI and several charitable and public funding bodies to collect the research outcomes and outputs of its award holders. Outcomes and outputs submitted to Researchfish are made publicly available through ‘Gateway to Research’ which helps to communicate the benefits of research to a wider audience. 

Links made between relevant grants and publications in Elements are transfered to Researchfish annually (usually during a short window in January / early February) prior to the start of the submission period. This applies to journal articles, conference proceedings and book chapters which have a unique identifier (DOI). Links to datasets will also be transferred (any datasets uploaded via Symplectic Elements will have a repository (Apollo) unique DOI by default. More information about Researchfish requirements can be found on the Research Operations Office website here


Where do I start?

Elements can be accessed here using your Raven authentication. Accounts are automatically created for researchers and graduate students within a few weeks of joining, and accounts for administrative staff can be created on request. If you have any difficulty logging in through Raven please click here for troubleshooting information, or to request an account please fill in the short form here.


How can I get the access I need?

If you need to be able to access any of these systems on behalf of another person, or to be able to access potentially sensitive information about anyone other than yourself (individually or collectively) you will need specific permission to do so. Various levels of access are available:

  • Delegate access: if you need to create or edit a profile on behalf of another member of staff please ask the academic(s) in question to email us at to request this
  • Admin access: if you need to create or edit groups in Elements in order to analyse the activities of for example a Group, SRI or Network please ask your Head of Department to email us at to request this, specifying the area(s) of interest required (ie. Department, Initiative, Network etc)
  • Reporting Rights: if you need to be able to use Elements to generate reports about, for example, publications or professional activities for a department, please ask your Head of Department to email us at to request this, specifying the area(s) of interest required (ie. Department, Initiative, Network etc).


What else can I do with Elements?

  • Gather data required for internal and external assessment. Prepare for government or funder returns, facilitate decision processes and report on the scholarly activity undertaken across an institution
  • Store information about funding and facilities which can be used to identify the research outputs generated by them, providing support for future funding applications
  • Populate a profile on another website (perhaps that of a department, SRI or network), or provide a feed of relevant publications for your website
  • Set up custom "groups"; compare and analyse productivity by different criteria, find out about the latest activity and add labels and create reports to make regular requests for information easier to generate
  • Put together a list of commonly used funders in a particular research area and use this as a basis for finding other relevant calls which could be circulated to a group or department
  • Provide an overview of the frequently used publishers, and analyse which ones are referenced the most, both through traditional bibliometrics and alternative metrics
  • Create, capture and display teaching activities alongside research outputs  (based on the CASRAI definition)
  • View Altmetric data for every record containing a DOI in the system
  • Link with ORCiD and other academic profile tools.

To find out more about how to get the most out of Elements please visit our Moodle or contact us with any specific questions you may have.

Complementary and connected - Elements and Altmetric

The traditional bibliometrics contained in Elements can now be blended with the alternative metrics provided by Altmetric for Institutions to provide a more rounded picture of the attention research receives. Altmetric captures and links to hundreds of thousands of tweets, blog posts, policy documents, news stories, videos and other content that mention scholarly articles on a daily basis, in order to provide a more granular breakdown of an article’s public reception and a measure of reach and digital impact which complements the traditional metrics of academic citations and Impact Factors already available in Elements.  Both publication data and structural elements, such as defined groups of users, are now synchronised (daily) between Elements and Altmetric, removing the need for duplication and enriching the information contained in both systems.

For example, via Elements it can be seen that according to Scopus (as of December 2014) a particular paper published in The Lancet had received 23 citations; but Altmetric data tells us that it had also received 1336 mentions from 63 news outlets, 17 blogs, over 1000 tweeters and 88 Mendeley readers, as well as a citation in an Oxfam GB Policy and Practice document.