Dimensions uses interconnected data across publications, clinical trials, patents, datasets, policy documents, and more. Because the underlying data is harmonised and curated, it is also flexible in how it can be used, and what it can be used for. Journal editors and publishers use Dimensions to:

  • Perform competitive analysis and benchmarking
  • Build journal editorial strategies
  • Recruit editorial team members and find new reviewers or authors
  • Identify special issue topics or emerging trends
  • Forecast publishing trends
  • Understand influential institutions, researchers and funders in their field 

In this blog post, we take a look at how Dimensions grant data can be used to forecast publishing trends that can guide journal editorial strategy. We will draw upon information explained further in our webinar: Discover emerging trends to guide your editorial strategy with Dimensions’ forward looking grants data.

Moving beyond traditional analytics

Dimensions is the most comprehensive research grants database linking grants to millions of resulting publications, clinical trials and patents. Grant data is sourced through direct partnerships with funders, data available via APIs or via websites which the Dimensions team crawl. The result is that Dimensions currently includes data related to 5 million grants from 500+ funders globally, equalling $1.6 trillion of funding.

Using Dimensions, journal editors and publishers can branch out from the traditional publication vs. citation analytics and instead enrich their analysis with other major data types. Looking at grant funding that has been awarded is one way to predict future publishing trends. Using this data, a journal editor or publisher can plan how to position their journals within their community over the next few years.

Understanding interdisciplinary research trends

In Dimensions, it’s possible to filter publications and grants on granular Research Categories or Fields of Research (FOR). This means that analysing interdisciplinary research trends, for example, is very simple and can answer a number of questions like:

  • Which categories have the highest overlap in grant awards?
  • Where is the majority of interdisciplinary research in my field being published?
  • What are the Open Access publishing trends within my interdisciplinary field of research?
  • Which institutions are publishing the most interdisciplinary research in my field?
  • Which funding bodies are awarding the most money to this interdisciplinary field?
  • Who are the top researchers in my interdisciplinary field?

It is also possible to broaden out our view of an interdisciplinary field of research by including additional journal and article-based metrics available in Dimensions. FCR (Field Citation Ratio), for example, is a normalization metric indicating the relative citation performance of an article compared to other articles within the same research field. Altmetrics tracks scholarly impact based on online research outputs, like social media, online news media, and online reference managers, helping you to understand which content raises your journal’s profile globally. 

Forecasting publishing research trends

Forecasting publishing research trends over the next 5 years, for example, is possible in Dimensions by reviewing the grants that have been awarded. In table 1, we start to get an understanding of where there are growth areas within a particular field of research, and how that compares across all of sciences. We can see that Food Sciences grant funding has increased by 74% in the last 5 years which compares to 41.3% across all sciences. As a journal editor or publisher in Food Sciences, this would be interesting to know more about because funding directly correlates to published research.

Table 1: Using Dimensions grant data to filter on different time periods and understand growth within sub-categories and comparing that with all categories. 

Continuing with Food Sciences as an example, we can then take the grant funding data and correlate it to other data types to understand not only publication data but also FCR and publications with attention (Altmetric) data (fig 1). Dimensions can further connect which institutions are receiving this funding and who are the top researchers winning the grants. This is interesting to know when trying to find experts in the field to join your journal for example.

Figure 1: Correlation between grant funding and resulting publications in Food Sciences 2010-2020, including FCR and Publication with Altmetric attention. 

Dimensions can also help you to look at interdisciplinary funding and Food Sciences is a great example because it crosses over into many disciplines (fig 2). As a journal editor or publisher, you can get a better understanding of which areas of research are being awarded food science related grant funding, this could help to (re)shape your Aims & Scope, decide on potential special issue topics, or even identify new opportunities for launching journals, for example. 

Figure 2: Interdisciplinary of Food Sciences research by funding awarded in the last 5 years

In figure 2, we can see there is a large connection between Food Sciences and Chemical Engineering. Dimensions can connect the awarded funding data with publications, citations and also publications with attention data (Altmetrics), helping you to understand why this interdisciplinary area is so important. You can also find out where researchers in this field are publishing their work (fig 3). If your journal is publishing research in this area, this could be useful for benchmarking your journal or discovering new areas of overlap where you might need to find reviewers in the near future.

Figure 3: Top 10 journals publishing interdisciplinary research from food sciences and chemical engineering in the last 10 years

In conclusion, using grant data in Dimensions allows you to look ahead and build strategies for your journal that will hopefully help you to attract the highest quality research in your field or the top researchers to submit to or join the journal. 

Are you interested in learning how Dimensions can benefit your journal? Please contact us and we’ll be in touch soon.