Getting started with Symplectic: checking your search settings

Research and Innovation Development Office

Category: Research news

31 March 2017

Dr Tim Brooks, Research Policy and REF Manager in ARU's Research and Innovation Development Office, blogs about Symplectic - a mechanism to capture details of your research activities.

Contact Tim if you want to know more. This post will be relevant only to ARU researchers.

Hopefully you’re aware that the University has recently rolled out the Symplectic CRIS (Current Research Information System), following its use in the Faculty of Science & Technology for many years, to the remainder of the university. In brief, Symplectic is a mechanism to capture details of your research activities, including your publications, grants and professional activities, and to report them; future developments include linking it with ARRO, to provide one portal to deposit research outputs, and to add functionality to capture evidence of impact.

Some of this information, research publications especially, can be captured automatically by Symplectic from online sources and publisher databases; when this happens, you will be notified and asked to verify that the output that’s been identified really is yours before it is added to your record. You may not have received any notifications yet, or you may have had many. Either way, it’s a good idea to check your search settings to bring back the best results.

To do this, just visit (you will not need to log in if you are already logged in to an Anglia networked computer; other devices and connections require you to use your full Anglia username (eg and password). Click on 'Menu', choose 'Manage – Search Settings' and scroll down.

‘Name variants’ is the only required search setting; you must have at least one but you can add alternate ways of displaying your name (eg Smith, J.; Smith, J. C., Smith, John) as well. Note the advice on presenting your surname, initials and/or forename; you do not need to include speech marks. We are presently working to correct a glitch in the default that treats the first letter of your surname as a middle initial (eg John Smith becomes Smith, J.S.). Name variants can also include, for example, maiden names.

All of the other search settings will limit what is brought back, so the defaults already listed (Anglia Ruskin OR Anglia Polytechnic) may be constraining what can be found for you. You should add the names of previous institutions where you’ve worked and published (omit generic words like University) but going beyond this is usually unnecessary unless you have a much more common name. If you do, you can consider adding subject keywords, or titles of journals you usually publish in, but remember that this may mean that you will not get back results which are more out of the ordinary. Some of the databases searched have a restriction on the total number of characters that can make up a search string, so putting too many search settings into place will cause some of the searches to fail.

Once you’ve updated the search settings to your satisfaction, scroll down to the bottom of the screen and click ‘save’. Then sit back and see what the next search brings in for you.

In a future blog post, we’ll cover the various researcher identifiers available, and how you can link these in to your Symplectic profile and search.


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