In one of our recent webinars, Katy Miller from the Victoria University of Wellington talked about how she uses Dimensions in her work as a Rankings Analyst. 

Katy Miller started working at the Victoria University of Wellington in 2003 when New Zealand started the Performance-based Research Fund (PBRF), which evaluates and funds research in higher education. The university was ranked first for the intensity of high-quality research in 2018 (the latest ranking), the only institution to achieve this designation twice. Government funding is closely tied to the ranking.

The PBRF requires educational institutions to submit evidence portfolios which demonstrate quality of staff research, research degree completion, and income from other grants. In August of 2020 Katy took on the role of Rankings Analyst after spending some time working for the school’s library. She uses Dimensions to understand and present the complete picture of the university’s research. As a Rankings Analyst her responsibilities include submitting the right data for the rankings, interpreting the outcomes when they come back, helping the university understand how they can look their best and optimizing the submissions processes internally. 

Katy first came across Dimensions during one of the Digital Science showcase events organized in Australia and is now using it to see the total range of research activities that Victoria University of Wellington engages in, and how that compares to peer institutions. It’s very useful to get an overview of where there are strengths and areas for improvement. 

Creating strong evidence portfolios requires a lot of detailed information, which makes the comprehensiveness of Dimensions an ideal tool. Because Dimensions links many sources of data together and not just publications and citations like the more traditional tools, Katy can include policy documents, patents, clinical trials, and grants in her reporting all at the same time. Katy particularly likes to look at grants, as they paint a picture of what is happening in the university right now, as opposed to just looking at published research and the number of citations. Although Katy primarily uses Dimensions Analytics in her work, other colleagues use Dimensions via Google BigQuery, which allows for additional sophisticated analyses. 

Katy says that Dimensions “helps you look as good as you are”. With more publications than any other platform she can think of, it’s possible to generate stronger evidence of university research impact. With very good coverage, many data types, and machine learning leading to better discovery, Dimensions is also used by the university to make strategic publishing decisions.  

Monitoring research data helps Victoria University of Wellington with long-term planning for the PBRF and other initiatives. While Katy thinks the rankings adequately reflect an institution’s perception by the outside world, they don’t provide a full picture of what a university is trying to achieve. Katy stresses that higher education needs to balance its mission and vision while striving for grant funding for research.

Are you interested in learning how Dimensions can be used at your institution? Contact us to schedule a demo.