Review Update: Dimensions
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David Petersen, MSLIS, MA, AHIP
Assistant Professor, Research & Learning Services Librarian
Preston Medical Library
University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine   

This is an update of a review that was originally published in the February 2019 issue of Doody’s Collection Development Monthly. The original review is available here.  

Dimensions (https://app.dimensions.ai) is a linked research knowledge platform that indexes over 120 million publications and provides a structured resource for researchers who wish to remain current in their field. The database operates on a “freemium” business model and offers a modernized discover and access experience.  

Overview 

Dimensions presents data from many sources, including articles, funded grants, clinical trials, and patents. The free portion consists of a citation index, comparable to Web of Science, Scopus, or Google Scholar. The subscription part offers analysis functionality like InCites or SciVal. A clean and easily usable search results interface complements the database’s substantial holdings. Dimensions has two great strengths: its wide coverage that goes beyond a typical literature database like PubMed and its search results page which offers searchers a wide range of limiters, data, and options.  

Features/Functionality 

The search interface allows for several types of searching. The default option is a basic keyword search that searches across all data, which is highly useful as some databases like Scopus do not have this capability. Other options include searching by title and abstract, DOI, and an abstract search where one can paste all or part of an abstract to find similar publications. Unfortunately, no further search functions have been developed since the initial review. The lack of autocomplete is regrettable and the continued absence of an advanced search tool is particularly disappointing for a research tool of this caliber. 

In contrast, the search results page is attractively laid out. One can easily filter results with a variety of options including researcher name, publication type, funder, and organization. A new feature allows limiting results to a range of publication years. Results can be sorted by many filters including an altmetric attention score. While previously citations could be exported, a new feature allows exporting of abstracts, including to bibliometric mapping.  

Individual records contain standard bibliographic information with author profile links, publication references, and publication citations. Altmetric data is available, tracking mentions on Twitter and readers on Mendeley, with additional demographic information.  

Business Model 

Dimensions offers a free version and two paid options: Dimensions Analytics and Dimensions Profiles. Analytics offers in-depth analysis on citations along with visualization and workflow support features. Profiles allows subscriber organizations to have their members create profiles featuring their scholarly work, and profiles can be linked to ORCID accounts. 

Breakthrough 

Dimensions offers many benefits for a research-oriented organization. Upgrades since the original review appear modest. Nevertheless, the product continues to improve, remains valuable, and allows for easy searching beyond the standard published literature. Organizations can test the free version before deciding whether a subscription is warranted.  

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