Assistant Professor & Clinical Librarian
Preston Medical Library and Health Information Center
The University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine
University of Tennessee Knoxville Medical Center
Dimensions (https://app.dimensions.ai/) is a linked research knowledge platform that indexes almost 100 million publications and provides a structured resource for researchers who wish to explore the latest studies and stay up to date with progress in their field. It provides an inclusive approach to content coverage, a “freemium” business model, and a modernized discovery and access experience.
Dimensions brings together data from many sources, including articles, funded grants, clinical trials, and patents. The portion that is the free citation index is comparable to Web of Science, Scopus, or Google Scholar. The subscription portion offers analysis functionality similar to InCites or SciVal.
Keyword searches can be performed on the full data of documents or just on the title and abstract. A third search option allows users to paste a document abstract to find similar articles. While there is no advanced search field, searchers can use basic Boolean operators (including NOT), parentheses, and quotes in the search box. The search box does not offer spell check or autocomplete, and there is no option to limit results to a range of publication years, although it is possible to search using a PubMed identifier (PMID).
The results list includes filtering options like publication year, researcher name, field of research, publication type (including proceedings, monographs, and preprints), source title, journal list, and open access. Results can be sorted by relevance, publication date, citations, or Altmetric Attention Score.
An “Analytical Views” panel to the right of the search results identifies the top fields of research relative to the search, along with a graph of publications by year. Below that, Dimensions offers profiles of relevant authors and journals. For the author, it shows the institutional affiliation and the total number of citations in the database. For journals, the SNIP (Source normalized impact per paper) and the SJR (Scimago journal and country rank) are displayed. The subscription version of Dimensions also includes profiles of funders and research organizations.
Each bibliographic record in the search results includes the title, authors, source, and date of publication. Additionally, two badges are offered, one that corresponds to the number of citations and the other to the Altmetric score. Hovering over the badges will show either total citations, recent citations, field citation ratio (FCR), and relative citation ratio (RCR), or altmetrics — reads in Mendeley, Tweets in Twitter, mentions in Wikipedia pages, etc. Those familiar with altmetrics will recognize the benefit of being able to track the online engagement surrounding a paper.
After selecting a publication title from the results list, users can view the citation and abstract, publication references, publication metrics, assigned research categories, MeSH terms, and links to external sources, such as publisher sites and PubMed. Options to view the PDF (if open access) and to add the article to the user’s library (if logged into a free ReadCube account) are also available on the article details page.
The database is offered in three different versions, a free version (Dimensions) and two paid versions (Dimensions Plus and Dimensions Analytics — view a comparison chart.) Registration is not required to use Dimensions, but users of the free version can create an individual login, which enables them to save searches and export results.
With an annual price tiered according to institution type, Dimensions Plus gives access to the complete coverage of the database, adding patents, clinical trials, grants, and policy documents, and their connections. Search results have additional filters – funder, research organization, and country. Researchers with access to Dimensions Plus through their universities can see the latest funded research projects in their areas of interest, including the main funders and what have they funded recently. They can also link their ORCiD record to their Dimensions account and add publications to their ORCiD record by clicking on the “Add to ORCiD” button next to each publication.
Dimensions Analytics targets publishers and funding organizations, and includes all the features of Dimensions Plus, along with additional reporting, visualization, and workflow support features. For funders and research organizations, the subscription versions of Dimensions can be particularly useful for evaluating the outcomes of research projects, tracing funding and research trends globally, informing future research strategy, and identifying collaborative or growth opportunities.
A free discovery search, Dimensions brings different types of research information together. By categorizing funded grants, publications, clinical trials, policy documents, and patents, this platform follows the complete research process, from funding to outputs. In addition, the Dimensions user interface presents search results in context, with citation and altmetrics data, while facilitating greater exploration of potentially relevant works.