Why did we build Dimensions?

From the very beginning of the Dimensions project, we knew we didn’t want to simply create another A&I database. Our goal was to provide a fresh take on research information; a more open and comprehensive data infrastructure that empowered users to explore connections between a wide range of research data.

That fresh approach extended to the project team. Digital Science and our portfolio companies ReadCube, Altmetric, Figshare, Symplectic, Digital Science Consultancy and ÜberResearch, didn’t build Dimensions alone. We worked closely with the research community throughout the project, a relationship that continues to drive new developments today.


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Together, we have created a database that offers the most comprehensive collection of  linked data in a single platform; from grants, publications, and clinical trials to patents and policy documents. Because Dimensions maps the entire research lifecycle, you can follow research from funding through output to impact. It has transformed the way research is discovered, accessed and evaluated. 

What makes Dimensions so different?


A comprehensive database that doesn’t impose limitations on users

Dimensions is inclusive; it captures all research outputs, greatly increasing your analysis options. By July 2019, Dimensions contained more than 102 million publications – that’s around 30% more than comparable databases.

We believe in empowering users, so Dimensions offers a wide variety of filtering options, ensuring you can always select the data you want to view.


Moving beyond citations to deliver a broader picture of impact

Only a few decades ago, metadata powered a revolution in citation network analysis.

Today, technological advances allow us to create increasingly complex analysis and connections. For example, Dimensions is the only database that links publications and citations with grants, patents, clinical trials, datasets, and policy papers to deliver a more holistic view of the research landscape.


Citation networks are an important discovery tool – and should be available to researchers

The ability to find, evaluate and build upon quality research is crucial to a researcher’s success. Search is helpful but limited, as it’s driven by our existing knowledge. So unexpected and serendipitous discoveries have a key role to play, and citation networks are a powerful tool to help us identify them.  

That is why we have made more than 102 million publications with over 1.2 billion citations openly accessible at app.dimensons.ai.


Connected data that looks beyond publications to offer a 360° perspective

Viewing data in isolation means you never see the full picture. This is particularly true for research evaluation – information about a publication, the author’s affiliation , or how an institution operates can increase our understanding and shape decision-making.

Dimensions delivers a 360° perspective of a research output: the cited and citing publications; related grants; supporting funders; article metrics; the related patents, clinical trials, policy documents, and datasets; and much more. Explore the rich connections in this Dimensions article.


A modern linked data architecture empowering users and data scientists

Not long ago, databases with rigid interfaces were the norm. This has changed dramatically: today, database users don’t just want to access data, they want to manipulate and analyze them.

The Dimensions interface is easy-to-use and flexible. We have also developed a powerful Dimensions API with a domain-specific querying language for more complex analyses. The API exposes not only the data, but the inner workings of the Dimensions engine, so that you can get creative!


One data platform to support discovery and analytics needs

Within the research ecosystem, data support has grown organically, resulting in other companies building their A&I databases and analytics tools separately.

With Dimensions, there is no divide – the data and the analytical tools are available in a single platform, streamlining the user journey.


Those who provide the data should not develop and own the metrics

At Digital Science, we see ourselves as a citizen of the research ecosystem. And that means we stand firmly behind the principles which matter to that community; for example, we are signatories of the DORA declaration, which calls for improvements to scientific research evaluation.

However, we strongly believe it is not our place as a data provider to develop or own the community’s metrics.
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The research community should develop and own the indicators

Dimensions and the data it contains is available at no cost to the scientometric research community. Members are encouraged to draw on the data to develop the next generation of indicators. For many years, there has been frustration with the metrics on offer – now, with such a broad range of connected data freely available, it is time to remedy that. Together we can do better!

A Guide to the Dimensions data approach

Dimensions Report, 2019

Dimensions: Building Context for Search and Evaluation

Frontiers in Research Metrics and Analytics, 2018

A Collaborative Approach to Enhancing Research Discovery

Dimensions Report, 2018