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Library Research Support & Services: Symplectic Elements

Elements upgrade - November 2016

** Elements has a new homepage design **

Functionality will remain broadly the same for staff using the system however there will be some changes to the homepage including a promotion of ORCiD ids, a unique author identifier which helps authors to gain credit for their work:























Behind the scenes, the upgrade to v5 will reintroduce the data feed from Web of Science, provide additional administrative tools to monitor Open Access compliance and provide more metadata for the CrossRef data source.

* All web guidance will be updated in full post-upgrade *

What is Symplectic Elements?

Elements is the University’s research publication information system. It is produced by a company called Symplectic. All staff have an Elements profile. Please log in using your Plymouth username and password:

Benefits of Elements:

  • A single source of publications data that can be repurposed for any internal or external reporting required e.g. HEFCE REF.
  • Automatic populating of staff members' profile pages on the extranet.  A future goal is feed into institute or research centre webpages for dynamic showcasing of PU research.
  • Enables full text publishing of research outputs into PEARL, the university's repository, which is then harvested by Google Scholar.

For assistance or technical queries please contact the IT Service Desk: or 01758 (5)88588

How to configure and use Elements

  • Roles: Any reporting or delegation roles (if applicable) will also be shown on this page.


You will be redirected to ORCiD to register or sign in.  
Symplectic will regularly read your ORCID record and add publications that you have claimed in ORCiD to your Symplectic profile.  
ORCiD can populate ORCiD with exact matches. The other import methods rely on keyword searching (so may not be accurate, especially if you have a common name) or manual upload. ORCiD will also autopopulate with new articles when you submit your ORCiD ID in you manuscript submission – more and more publishers are signing up.
See our full guidance on ORCiD:

Click the Menu and ‘Search Settings’ box on the home page:


Name variants:
The default name given will be that which is held on iTrent, the university’s HR system.  The need to use any of the subsequent search terms below will depend on how common the surname is.

This has to match any terminology used by databases e.g. as PU could be described as “Univ. of Plymouth”; “University of Plymouth”; “Plymouth University”; "Plymouth Business School" etc., it is safest to simply use the lowest common denominator of “Plymouth”.  Likewise, add a short place name for each previous institution e.g. “London”.

Keywords and Journals:
Use with care – these fields are only recommended only for very common names where name/place does not bring back specific enough hits.

Database search settings: Scroll further down the page to adjust the harvesting settings of databases configured work with Elements:   PubMed, PubMed Central, Web of Science, arXiv (physics/computer science/maths), DBLP(computer science), RePEc(economics) and CiNii(Japan) are currently configured for harvesting by Elements.  Tick only the databases relevant to your area.  
CrossRef database of DOIs (multidisciplinary) will also be searched.

Add in specifc profiles e.g. a ResearchID from Web of Science to personalise even further:

Manage your Pending Publications  harvested by the databases:

Elements has harvested hits from different databases.  You now need to ‘claim’ them as your publications or ‘reject’ them if incorrectly harvested.

Mine  =  publications  accepted as being written by the user
Pending  = results retrieved by the automated harvesting, awaiting Claim or Reject
Not Mine
= these will not be retrieved by the automated harvesting again so a decision is only required once on each output.

Mistakes in the data?
To view full details of the publication, click on the publication title link. This will also display the database source name.  Click this to display the full record from the database. If any of the details are wrong, then the database, e.g. Web of Science, should be contacted to request a data correction.  Contact if this is required.  A temporary fix is to create a manual record with the correct information and then to click the star  to denote it as the ‘favourite record’.  

Outputs which are not indexed in the data sources or imported via EndNote will need to be manually added via pre-set forms. (NB: use of ORCiD to manage a publication profile is recommended.  ORCiD is interoperable with most systems including Elements and reduces the manual burden e.g populating profiles for grant submission etc.)

DOI look up:

For articles there is a DOI look up and for books an ISBN ‘Google Books’ look up – Elements will look externally to bring in a record and prepopulate the necessary fields.

If it cannot find a pre-existing record, you will be prompted to fill in a record manually. 

Records can be imported into Elements from EndNote:

In EndNote:

  • Click on File / Export. Name the file and use a .txt file extension eg mypubs.txt
  • Output style – Choose Select another style and then select RefMan (RIS) Export. Click the Choose button.
  • Save the file.

Return to Elements:

  • Go to “Home” and collapse the “Publications” left hand menu > click “import” 
  • Browse to the saved filed > “upload” 
  • Elements will indicate any upload failures e.g. records without titles.
  • Elements will also give an indication and instructions about any matched records that match records already in Elements. 

Go to “Elements” > “Publications” and ensure 'detailed view' (not 'compact') is selected:

Hover over the Altmetrics donuts to see the social media buzz on your articles:

Export a list of publications:

  • Go to the staff portal ( > MyEdesk > Personal Details
  • Click the “now set to Elements Publications” link > “submit
  • Then select “set your display preferences” to make visible your Elements feed by ticking both boxes next to “publications”
  • Changes should take effect after 24 hours.
Senior staff may wish to delegate access to their Elements account to another individual, such as an Administrator or assistant, so that they can manage publications on their behalf. Actions taken by the delegate will be recorded as being done by the delegate.

The delegate must be added by the profile holder:  Go to “Account Settings” > type the surname of the delegate and add
Delegates can be removed in the same way.

* Known issues *

Known issues with Elements:

  1. RIDL Integration:  RIDL is used to update membership of research centres and feed this data into Elements.  Ths is currently not feeding through to Elements.  
    Please  contact the service desk if you need to run reports on publication activity by research groupings quoting RIDL as the source of your problem.

Detailed guides to using Elements