“Moving forward, there will be more emphasis on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how research relates to these. New impact rankings reflect this shift. Universities are in a unique position to transform society and the ability to benchmark SDG activity with Dimensions is hugely valuable.” 

Professor Michael Khor, Director of Talent Recruitment and Career Support (TRACS) Office & Bibliometrics Analysis 

Advancing the Sustainable Development Goals: using Dimensions to map research and drive innovation

NTU is one of Singapore’s top research institutes and universities. In recent years, we have emerged as a global leader in the fields of engineering, technology and science – from condensed matter physics and physical chemistry to biomaterials and nanotechnology. Despite being relatively young (NTU was inaugurated in 1991) we are regularly ranked in the top 10 for both teaching and research within international indexes.

Our strong international and regional research reputation has contributed to our steady climb in global rankings. With a vision to “nurture leaders and create societal impact through interdisciplinary education and research”, we acknowledge our responsibility to understand and address new trends in research, producing work that is both societally relevant and impactful. 

In line with our vision, we fully endorse the principles of Open Access (OA) research. Our OA Policy has been in place since 2011, enabling NTU research publications to be disseminated more rapidly and widely. With this visibility, we aim to support scientific advancement and have a tangible impact on society. What’s more, we have developed NTU 2025, a five-year strategic plan to address global challenges like climate change, emerging health threats and an ageing population. 

Tracking research trends with Dimensions

The Talent Recruitment and Career Support (TRACS) Office at NTU aims to attract global talent such as postdocs, early-career faculty members and established scientists. We are constantly tracking the university’s performance; in fact, our internal motto is ‘TRACS tracks’. We also support schemes like NTU’s Accelerating Creativity and Excellence (ACE) Programme. The ambition of ACE is to catalyse bold and unconventional cross-disciplinary research across colleges, ensuring we continue to produce compelling, relevant knowledge that can respond to, and perhaps even drive, new global trends.

It is incredibly important for us to be able to track our own publications and see where these fit within the wider global research ecosystem. Through understanding this activity, we can analyse trends and outcomes, all of which helps to inform our future work. Collaborating with Dimensions, we have been able to quickly benchmark our research activities and gather valuable data-driven insights. The platform also allows us to gain contextual information on our work. As an example of this, we can use Dimensions to assess if our research activity is driving progress towards relevant SDGs.

Beyond this, we’ve been using the data to understand developments in OA research across Southeast Asia and the APAC region. We believe that OA offers a very exciting route forward for global research publication. However, it’s a new area for publishers and researchers alike and needs a lot more understanding and exploration to ensure the benefits are equitable and sustainable. 

“With Dimensions, it’s easy to pull out the specific data you need incredibly quickly – we’re talking a matter of seconds. This gives our team more time to spend on the analysis itself.” – Professor Khor

Supporting the wider research community 

Being able to integrate Dimensions with Google BigQuery and our own internal data sets has provided an exciting avenue for discovery. We’ve developed a set of internal models to understand the impact of our research and compare across subjects and institutions on both a national and international level. With Dimensions, it’s easy to pull out the specific data you need incredibly quickly – we’re talking a matter of seconds. This gives our team more time to spend on the analysis itself.

As NTU continues to take bigger and bolder action on sustainability, we need to be able to map any research activity related to relevant SDGs. Dimensions offers us this contextual information. The comprehensiveness of the dataset also means we can gather more regional activities that we may not otherwise be aware of. This enables us to understand the value of our work in relation to the SDGs, as well as identify emerging areas of research and identify potential collaborators. As an example, we have partnered with the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW) and together will co-fund innovative research projects that create value out of plastic waste. The NTU Sustainability Office was also started to put into action the university’s sustainability framework towards carbon neutrality and societal impact in areas such as education, energy, and wastage. 

For NTU, it all starts with collaboration. We’ve been proactive in building international partnerships and Dimensions provides an effective way to assess how well these are working. We can see if their potential is being fully realised, or if we’ve hit a roadblock – such as funding running out or a key player moving across to another institution. This helps us to plan ahead and either keep successful partnerships going or scale down those that are not performing as well. Put simply, it means a better use of our resources. 

Want to hear more about how NTU have explored trends in Open Access and incorporated SDG goals in their research?

Listen back to our on-demand webinar with NTU or read our blog post on Moving towards an Open Access future.

Find out what Dimensions can do for you

Curious about how Dimensions can support research within your institution? Get in touch to speak with one of our experts.