Case Study – Elements at UCL

Find out what happened when University College London installed Elements to modernise their research infrastructure.

Image courtesy of UCL

Before Elements

UCL used a custom-built system known as OnCite. This primarily stored publication lists for UCL academics, and didn’t provide any automatic capturing of publication data.

It relied heavily on an individual’s own input into the system, so the amount of publications and outputs that it stored was low. The entries also lacked the quality and completeness that the university wanted.

What were the aims of the project?

There were multiple reasons that Elements was requested for this institution. A number of features were used in this case:

  • Elements Core: To manage publications and professional activities for all university staff and students.
  • Repository Tools: To integrate with the university’s institutional EPrints repository and allow the storage of full-text copies of publications.
  • Reporting Tools: for providing strategic institution-wide reporting services.
  • REF: Assisting with the collection and submission of the Research Excellence Framework (REF2014).
  • CrossRef: To integrate bibliographic data from the most comprehensive database of DOIs, enhancing subject coverage and minimising re-keying of metadata.

How did it help?

Elements was rolled out across the whole of UCL. The active number of users of the system at any one time is the active number of UCL researchers (approximately 5,500 in December 2014).

The implementation of Elements has greatly increased the accuracy of the publication lists held by UCL. The flow of these lists via the API link to public facing profiles and Open Access Repository, as well as the Repository Tools, has increased the level of engagement with UCL publications.

The Open Access Repository has exceeded over 2,000,000 downloads in approximately 2 years of being fed with publication information and full text via Elements.

Recently, the Reporting Database was used for producing lists of publications covering a complex multi-disciplinary area for a complex international grant application.

Tight integration

UCL needed an integration with their Open Access Repository, UCL Discovery.

Use of Symplectic’s Repository Tools package made this possible. This allowed the transfer of all approved publications to the repository. As well as this, it acts as the feed for all full-text entries, as academics are required to submit them along with their accepted publication record.

Library Services staff then review any copyright/embargo requirements and transfer the publication into the repository. They also feed back the publication URL into the Elements record within the repository. This allows it to be disseminated to other systems, principally their researcher profile system, IRIS.