“Using Dimensions, our teams can better understand where SPIE falls into the greater ecosystem of scientific publishing.”
Patrick Franzen, Director, Publications and Platform at SPIE
SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, has been using Dimensions Analytics since May 2019. We have spoken to Patrick Franzen (Director, Publications and Platform) and Mary Summerfield (Manager, Publications Business Development) about their experience of using Dimensions on a day-to-day basis, focusing on how Dimensions supports SPIE in their strategic thinking and planning for the future.
An enterprise-wide product that every team can benefit from
“We use Dimensions in a wide variety of ways across the business. Dimensions for us has never been a tool just for publishers, but rather an enterprise-wide product that every team can benefit from,” notes Patrick. He goes on to explain how Dimensions helps his team understand where SPIE falls into the greater ecosystem of scientific publishing. On a day-to-day basis, Patrick’s colleagues run data analytics to check the publishing output regionally or per country and institution, as well as what SPIE author distribution looks like. “Our publishing teams will also use Dimensions to look at our editorial boards. We are interested to know where they are publishing and how we can support them in their role,” Patrick adds.
Understand, Evaluate And Predict Future Strategies And Trends
SPIE organizes and sponsors approximately 25 major technical forums, exhibitions, and education programs in North America, Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific every year. Furthermore, SPIE publishes the SPIE Digital Library, the world’s most extensive collection of optics and photonics applied research with more than 500,000 papers from SPIE journals, conference proceedings and presentations, and eBooks. Understanding current trends and predicting future trends is fundamental to Mary’s work. To support her in her analyses, Mary uses Dimensions to answer many different types of questions relating to business development strategy for SPIE.
“Dimensions shows me the bigger picture. It gives us the broadest possible lens – particularly around funding and patent information.”
“For me, it is all about the bigger picture,” notes Mary, adding “previously we used databases like Web of Science, but compared to Dimensions, Web of Science is pretty limited.” Mary needs a database that gives her the broadest possible lens, with the most amount of data in a single database. In the last few years, SPIE has been pushing hard to integrate more and more data into their business and workflows. While SPIE collects data internally, it is only when they cross-match it with Dimensions data, they can truly begin to understand, evaluate and predict future strategies and trends that could affect their business.
One unique aspect of the Dimensions database that SPIE deeply values is the patent citations. The SPIE community is very applied and technology-driven so they often see that papers generate more patent citations than academic citations. “Tracking patent citations is incredibly important to SPIE, and other databases don’t include this information, so Dimensions is integral for creating a much clearer picture,” notes Mary.
Conference planning for future success
The conference team at SPIE also use Dimensions to support their strategic thinking and planning for future conferences. “We use Dimensions to identify trends or to spot which areas are growing fast and increasingly gaining more funding dollars,” explains Patrick. He outlines how the conference team can then use this information to put together programs that are representative of where the industry is heading, ensuring their conference program is not only attractive to their communities but relevant to the scientific field as a whole. Patrick also explains that it works in reverse too. It is equally essential for SPIE to be able to identify topical areas that are waning in popularity. Once these areas are identified, valuable SPIE resources can be appropriately redistributed, and the team can build strategies around sunsetting their efforts in one area, to focus on others.
“Dimensions helps us to get a wider perspective in terms of publishing content, program strength and how much engagement the institute has within the subject areas and technical areas that are relevant to SPIE as a whole.”
Patrick also adds that Dimensions is used to evaluate performance of past conferences, by looking at publications output. He notes that “Dimensions is perfect for this because it is an independent audit, which is important to SPIE because we know we can rely on the neutrality of information and data provided.”
Supporting the Membership Team
The SPIE Membership Team also uses Dimensions to vet potential student chapters. When university programs apply to be a SPIE affiliated student chapter, there are a variety of requirements they need to meet to get funding and support from SPIE. SPIE already knows how an institution is collaborating or interacting with their products and services through internal data. But Patrick adds that “Dimensions helps us to get a wider perspective in terms of publishing content, program strength and how much engagement the institute has within the subject areas and technical areas that are relevant to SPIE as a whole.”
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