Simplifying Symplectic, PWPs and Open access

Imperial offers several platforms and services to help track, curate and promote your research. These services are heavily integrated to the College systems, with the information and data being fed into a number of important platforms that will be fundamental in the Department and Faculty’s 2021 REF submission.

This blog will lay out what is expected of every member of staff that publishes research, how these systems work, where data is pulled to and from and, most importantly, the benefits for you and your future research.

What is Symplectic?

Symplectic is the research information management system used by Imperial to detail the publications, funding, equipment and professional activities of our Faculty members.

For you, the researcher, it provides a ‘one-stop-shop’ to maintain a list of your publications, manage open access and highlight other important activities that you undertake, such as external lectures or board membership.

This quick guide to Symplectic covers how to claim and deposit publications, as well as setting up a delegate to manage your profile if you have administrative support. The Library has also published this handy video tutorial to help you get to grips with the system:

The information in Symplectic is used to populate your Personal Web Page (PWP) and showcase your research and collaborations.

What is, and why use, your PWP?

A professional web page (PWP) is your personal College web page. These pages represent you and your work in the Department and are often the first thing funders, collaborators and future students will find when they Google your name and research. As such, it is crucial that they contain the most up to date information about your work and research.

Keeping your Symplectic up to date by claiming publications automatically populates your PWP, saving you from having to manually update a list of journal articles and other activities.

Symplectic also allows for you to boost the visibility of your favourite articles on your PWP, as well as hide the publications you don’t want to show. This can be achieved by either clicking the heart (favourite) or the eye (not visible) icons within Symplectic. This means that you can gain all of the benefits of having your work claimed within Symplectic, while maintaining a strong curated external presence.

We live in the era of personal branding, and your PWP is a fundamental part of that. Here are 10 essential tips for creating a great PWP and developing a ‘personal brand’. Also, there’s no such thing as an ideal PWP – we’re all unique after all. However, here are a few, diverse examples of PWPs that do certain things very well.

Open access policy – REF 2021

Open access publishing makes your online scholarly work available, free of charge to anyone. It facilitates the discovery and sharing of knowledge and may be required by your research funder.

From 1 April 2018 the REF 2021 policy will require deposit of the accepted manuscript within 3 months of acceptance. The full policy and FAQs are currently available at the REF2021 site.

By depositing your accepted manuscript in Spiral now, your final published journal article or conference paper will be eligible for submission to the REF 2021. To do this, you must upload a copy of your accepted manuscript to Symplectic, or ask a delegate to do so. The Library’s open access team will manage all accepted manuscript submissions to ensure you have provided sufficient information, and that the submitted manuscript meets the REF 2021 eligibility requirements. Please see the FAQs for more information.

Your final journal article or conference paper does not have to be published on ‘gold’ open access, i.e. you do not have to pay an open access fee or APC, to be eligible for the REF 2021.

You can read the full Guidance on submissions and FAQs written by HEFCE on their site. Library Services, the Research Office and ICT Research Support Services are all working to support staff to comply with the policy, and more information about the whole REF 2021 process can be found at the College’s REF 2021 pages. To find out more about how the open access policy affects you, please see our FAQs or contact the Library’s open access team.

The benefits of Open access are numerous but, fundamentally, the use of open access has shown to improve the reputation of researchers and their host institution through increased citations.

Where to update your PWP

PWPs depend on sourcing much of their information automatically from other College systems, the table below explains where the data is stored and edited.

PWP tab Data item Maintained within
Home Summary
Home Publications Symplectic
Honours and membership External positions
Links with Other Academic Bodies
Membership of Profesional Bodies
Spinout Involvement
Industrial Connections
Research Free text PWP
Research Research Student Supervision
Guest Lectures
Research Staff
Editorial Boards
Publications Research Publications Symplectic
Teaching Courses/modules – UG, PG (Faculty of Medicine only)
Courses/modules – short courses
Academic training programme
Teaching Courses/modules – UG, PG (not Faculty of Medicine) DSS (speak to your departmental contact to update this)
All tabs Contact details (job title, department, email, phone, location, assistant contact details) College Directory

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