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Scholarly Communication


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Since Michaelmas 2016 we have been piloting a new open access and open data deposit service that is integrated with Symplectic Elements. The first pilot phase has allowed us to test the system and workflows behind it to ensure it is fit for purpose. We are now in phase two of the pilot making final preparations to the system and preparing to switch off the current Open Access system in the summer.


What is the new system?

The new deposit service allows researchers to claim and deposit their publications and data via their Symplectic Elements profile. The deposit system works in much the same way as the current upload system but has a number of benefits to researchers, administrators and the open access and data staff.

Researchers will need to log into Symplectic Elements enter in similar information to the current system and deposit the accepted manuscript as before. The item will be curated and made publicly available in Apollo (subject to copyright) and users will continue to receive the same support and advice from the Open Access and Research Data Teams in response to their deposits.

The benefits of the new system are neatly summed up in the infographic below. You can also read more detail about the individual benefits of uploading papers and data.


How do I deposit?

Please use the links below to find out how to deposit specific outputs.

Depositing articles via Symplectic Elements

Depositing data via Symplectic Elements


Pilot phase 1

The first phase of the pilot involved:

  • Department of Chemistry
  • Department of Geography
  • Department of Earth Sciences
  • Department of Engineering
  • Department of Radiology
  • Faculty of Education
  • MRC - Epidemiology Unit
  • Judge Business School

As well as some specific research groups. Researchers in the pilot groups have simply been asked to log into Symplectic Elements and upload their papers and data there.

During this phase we have gathered feedback from users about their interaction with the system. 84% of the users who responded to our survey rated Symplectic as either 4 or 5 out of 5 on the ease of use scale (with 5 being very easy). Users were happy to see the integration between the systems. We’ve taken on board feedback from users about improving the location of guidelines for using the system and how Symplectic Elements integrates with the Open Access service.


Pilot phase 2

In early April all researchers received an email about the HEFCE open access policy and notifying them of intention to switch to the new deposit system later in the year. Researchers from anywhere in the University are welcome to use Symplectic Elements to upload their papers and data to the Open Access and Open Data teams. The old Open Access system will still be running during this time. Users who are not part of Phase 1 of the pilot will not see the big ‘Accepted for Publication?’ button on their Elements homepage at this time but can upload papers using the ‘+add’ button (see this guide for more information).


What is Symplectic Elements?

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. There are lots of other things you can do in Symplectic Elements, like add teaching activities, link papers to funding or add details of other systems you use. Symplectic Elements is used for a wide variety of reporting purposes so all this information feeds into these. You can find more information about how Symplectic Elements is used here.


Promotional materials

In order to help departments explain these changes to their staff and students, we have created some materials that explain why we are changing our systems and the benefit it brings.

Annotated presentation available in .pptx and pdf formats- This is  presentation that can be used by any department. It includes explanatory notes.

Infographic - This neatly sums up the benefits of the new system.