Dimensions uses interconnected data across publications, clinical trials, patents, datasets, policy documents, and more, supporting librarians in their everyday tasks as well as helping them to answer key strategic Open Access questions like:

  • What is the status of Open Access at my institution?
  • What is the impact of my institution’s Open Access policy?
  • How much content from a specific journal or publisher is Open Access?
  • Which researchers at my institution are potential Open Access ambassadors?
  • How can I prepare for Plan S rollout and compliance?
  • How can I build an Open Access outreach plan?

This blog draws upon information and case study examples explained further in our webinar: Using Dimensions to evaluate your institution and inform an Open Access outreach plan.

Accessing the full picture

Dimensions has nearly 29 million Open Access records compared to 10.1 million records in Web of Science and 7.8 million records in Scopus. Dimensions includes valuable additional information records like preprints, open monographs, chapters, and books, providing the user a broader view than other platforms when analyzing Open Access trends, data, and impact within research fields.

Understand the Open Access status at your institution

In just a couple of clicks, you can filter Dimensions data to your institution. Using the Analytical Views tab, you can get a quick overview of the Open Access publishing status at your institution. The timeline view in figure 1 is especially helpful to see how Open Access publishing trends from researchers at your institution have changed over the last few years.

Figure 1: Florida State University, number of Open Access articles published by authors affiliated to the institution. ‘Closed’ = subscription articles (non-Open Access articles).

Understanding the impact of your Open Access policy

Looking at the timeline for Open Access growth at an institution (figure 1) is a solid place to start investigating the impact of your institution’s Open Access policy. You probably already know the statistics from your institutional repository, and you already understand if your Open Access policy has an impact, but there is a lot more to learn.

In figure 2, we explore Florida State University who introduced its Open Access policy in 2016. What impact did that have on researcher trends in Open Access publishing? We can see that Open Access publishing overtakes subscription publishing from 2016. The two fluctuate a little over the next 2 years, and by 2018 they are even again. So, although Open Access publications did not permanently overtake subscription publications after the passage of the policy at Florida State University, we can definitively say a significant growth can be further explored.

Figure 2: Florida State University Open Access publishing trends 2015-2020

Identifying researchers at your institution as potential Open Access ambassadors

It is useful to know which researchers at your institution could be potential advocates for Open Access policies. Partnering with researchers at your institution to advocate for Open Access can be a rich resource for a successful outreach plan. Again, it only takes a couple of clicks in Dimensions (figure 3) to start discovering potential Open Access ambassadors at your institution.

Figure 3: Iowa State University, researchers currently working at the institution, all Open Access publications 2016-2020.

Researchers publish Open Access for a variety of reasons; funder mandates, collaborators, and of course, institutional policies. While this at-a-glance view in figure 3 into researchers’ behavior can be enhanced through our API, the Analytical View is a fantastic starting point to unearth potential partners. Not every “top researcher” will be the right partner to become an Open Access ambassador. Still, by reviewing which of your current researchers are publishing Open Access, you can begin to build your outreach and partnership plan.

Using Dimensions to prepare for Plan S

Does your institution plan to roll out Plan S compliance?  Understanding which researchers have been funded by Plan S funders but did not publish in Open Access journals recently can be a perfect place to start. Using the Dimensions Funder Group filter and selecting the ‘cOAlition S’ option (figure 4) will limit your view to Plan S funders. From there, you can add in your institution name, selected years, and of course, the Closed publication filter option. In the Analytical Views tab, you can see a list of funders that are part of cOAlition S and have funded research published by your researchers in closed (subscription) journals. You can also use the Researchers tab to look at faculty members that you need to connect with and discuss Plan S adoption.

Figure 4: cOAlition S funders, University of Edinburgh, 2009-2019, subscription publications only.

Build a solid advocacy plan

An advocacy plan relies heavily on support from your audience and partners. With Dimensions, you can identify top Open Access researchers at your institution who could be potential Open Access ambassadors, and therefore, people you want to work more closely with. Dimensions can help reveal new target audiences that you haven’t traditionally engaged with before:

Know your institution’s Open Access standing

  • Current Open Access publishing + your institutional repositories
  • Before and after Open Access policy impact
  • Use Dimensions to provide additional data when evaluating new initiatives

Identify campus partners

  • Top OA researchers = Open Access Ambassadors
  • Who are you working with? Who do you want to work more closely with?
  • Determine target audiences for new initiatives

Explore these strategies further in our webinar: Using Dimensions to evaluate your institution and inform an Open Access outreach plan. If you are interested in learning how Dimensions can benefit your organization, please contact us, and we’ll be in touch soon.