Symplectic Elements FAQs

Access, user roles and logging in

Symplectic Elements at Oxford (SE) is accessible at Sign in using your Oxford single sign-on (SSO) credentials. If you are unable to access SE via your SSO credentials you must register for an account.

A Symplectic New User Request form and further details are available at our Register webpage.

Users affiliated with the University but without single sign-on (SSO) credentials should request virtual access from the University Card Office authorised through their department, college or unit.

If you have forgotten your single sign-on (SSO) credentials or your SSO has expired, please visit the IT Services help web pages.

You can delegate access to your account to any other Symplectic Elements at Oxford user as follows:

  1. Log in to your SE account at
  2. Go to Menu tab > My Account > Manage Delegates
  3. In the Manage Delegates section. add the delegate's name, surname first, and select from the drop-down list. Choose the + symbol to add.
  4. Save.

Full guidance on adding a delegate and impersonating can be found in our guide:

A delegate can carry out any action on behalf of the user they are impersonating (except for delegating). This includes depositing an item or claiming or rejecting a publication.

A Research Manager can do more than manage their own Symplectic account. They can impersonate all users in a group - to merge records, claim and reject records, and amend search settings. They can email all users in the group and amend default settings for the group. They also have access to Open Access Monitor reporting for that group.
A group Statistician can run Basic Reports for a group.

To request Research Manager access, email the Symplectic Helpdesk and cc in your line manager/Head of Admin by way of authorisation.
Research Managers and Statisticians are jointly known as Symplectic Elements Operational Users.
An individual user who is a nominated delegate for another individual user can impersonate them, but are not classed as an operational user, since they have no rights in relation to a group.


Type of Users Account Creation Users details updated Account deactivated
Staff employed by the University on a research contract Automatic Automatic Automatic
Staff employed by the University not on a research contract eg administrative staff  Manually by Symplectic Admin Automatic Automatic
Staff not employed by the University eg DPhil student, college only staff Manually by Symplectic Admin Manually by Symplectic Admin Automatic


Searching, harvesting and claiming research outputs

Names and name variants can be changed in the my search settings menu. This will allow you to add or remove name variants, choose a date to begin searching from and select which databases to search from.

Full guidance on search settings can be found in our guide:


Pending publications can be reset using the other tools (bottom) card available on the homepage of your user account.

A step-by-step guidance for resetting your pending or rejected publications list can be found in our guide:


Setting up SE to use your ORCID for automatic claiming (via menu > publications > automatic claiming) does not mean that SE will search your ORCID profile. It will look for publications in other sources that hold your ORCID in their metadata. In most cases this will lead to a much improved  harvesting of your publications.

If you also connect and authenticate SE to your ORCID web profile you can auto claim as per the above, but additionally allow SE to search your ORCID profile for author IDs and use those to search other data sources. This method doesn't automatically import outputs from your ORCID web profile (due to perceived problems of variable data quality on ORCID profiles).


If SE finds an ORCID ID in the metadata of publications in your pending or mine lists, it will suggest them to you for use in automatic claiming. You can see suggestions by going to Menu > Publications > Automatic claiming. If it does not suggest any, then if you connect and authenticate to your ORCID web profile (on the same page under ‘Add external profile’) this will permit automatic claiming on your ORCID.

If Symplectic (SE) is suggesting an ORCID or other author identifier (via Menu > Publications > Automatic claiming) you can accept it whilst impersonating. Please check this is the correct ID, as SE may incorrectly suggest IDs of co-authors that it finds repeatedly in publications.

If no ORCID is suggested then you can connect to the user’s ORCID web profile to permit automatic claiming on their ORCID. However, this will require them to authenticate to the ORCID website.

This functionality is no longer active. However it is easy to see the publications which would have appeared on the email:

  1. Log into SE.
  2. Click on publications (from the left hand navigation bar) or the elements tab and then publications.
  3. Click on the pending tab to see all your pending publications.

Firstly, check your search settings, particularly if you have a common name. You can refine your search settings to reduce the number of suggestions arriving in pending. See:


Then, clear your pending items list using the clear your pending list link at the top of the pending tab. When it next searches, Symplectic will do so using your modified search settings and repopulate your pending items list. To run searches immediately, click run my searches on the search settings page.

Symplectic finds publications from external data sources using your search settings. You should check and refine your search settings:


If the item still does not appear in pending as it is not available in any external data sources you can:

a) add manually:

  1. From Publications listing click add new publication and select type from the dropdown.
  2. Click search for item and if not found click go to next step.
  3. Enter details and save, or

b) import from a file (EndNote, Reference Manager)

Firstly, you should check your search settings to help it efficiently find your publications:


You can then keep up to date by 'acting on acceptance' (adding new publications as soon as they are accepted) and claiming other publications which appear on 'pending'.

Also be aware that you can make your previous publications record complete by importing all your publications from a referencing software such as Endnote or Reference Manager:

Firstly, check that you have selected the all tab rather than recent (default). If this does not resolve the issue it may be that publications are appearing at the bottom of the list – see ‘I have acted on acceptance but recent articles are not appearing at the top of my list’.

UTF-8 is supported in the databases and UI; this preserves special characters very well as data moves around. Manually entered special characters shouldn't cause any problems. You can search by title using special characters. The only known issues relate to reporting via PDF - if you experience this please let the helpdesk know at

Managing publications

You may import a BibTeX file or RIS file of your publications to SE by using the import option from the publications menu.

Full guidance on importing publications can be found in our guide:

Where there are duplicate records for the same output, you can combine them into one record. Please see our guide:


If you have already claimed a record but need to add a date of acceptance, you do this by creating a manual record or amending the existing one. This will add the DOA to the data held for the publication. In summary:

  1. Find the item in my publications and click on the tile.
  2. Under data sources click add manual record or find the manual record and click edit record.
  3. Add date of acceptance.
  4. Click blue save button at bottom of screen.

For full details see:


You can create a manual record (or edit an existing one) and then enter the correct data. In summary:

  1. Find the item in my publications and click on the tile.
  2. Click add manual record or find the manual record and click edit record.
  3. Make amendments and/or add data.
  4. Click blue save button at bottom of screen.
  5. Important! If you are correcting external data, click the preferred record button on the manual record to prevent it being overwritten.
  6. If you are adding in a date of publication you will also need to enter a date of acceptance as it is a mandatory field. In cases where the publication date is earlier than 1 January 2016 only you may enter the publication date in this field.

For full details see: 


At present, SE requires the author field to be completed, so it is not possible to be an editor only of a publication. We are working to resolve this issue, but in the meantime please enter as editor and author to allow the record to be saved.

You can ‘reject’ an item you have previously claimed by viewing it on your my publications listing and clicking on the red cross icon in the bottom right hand corner. Please note that if you reject an item it will not appear in your list of ‘pending’ items.


If you have ‘acted on acceptance’, already claimed a record, but need to add a date of acceptance, you do this by creating a manual record or amending the existing one. This will add the DOA to the data held for the publication. In summary:

  1. Find the item in my publications and click on the tile.
  2. Under data sources find the manual record and click edit record.
  3. Add publication date.
  4. Click the blue save button at bottom of screen

If you click on 'preferred record' for a data source (eg manual, PubMed) this record will supply the data for reporting and display in Symplectic (SE). The University default source if no preferred record is selected is CrossRef and thereafter a set hierarchy on the remaining sources. When a manual record is created it is initially populated with data from the highest precedence or preferred source.

Pre-prints are often imported into Symplectic as output type 'Journal Article' - please correct the output type (eg to working paper) if this is incorrect. You can do this using the pen (edit) icon at the top of the publication details page.

If a submitted journal article - imported from a pre-print server - was not accepted for publication and will not be resubmitted please change the type to 'Working Paper' - this will stop it incorrectly appearing in open access reminders to deposit.

These may be harvested from external data sources as a separate record with a different Digital Object Identifier (DOI) from the original publication. We recommend that you do not merge with the original. However, if you do not want the output to appear on your Symplectic record then you can hide it by clicking on the hide icon (eye with a line through it) on your publications listing.

Act on acceptance & open access

This may be due to having no ‘reporting date’. Articles are ordered based on a reporting date in the system. The reporting date is generally associated with the date of publication. If there is no publication date this automatically places the publication to the end of the list in the 'no date' section.

This can either be because a) there is no publication date available yet or b) there is a known issue with the system in that it fails to update manual records even when publication date is available from other data sources.

Be reassured that this is just a display problem within SE. A fix from Symplectic Ltd is expected in 2018. In the short term the solution is either to:

  1. add the publication date manually to the manual record (which will in turn update the reporting date), or
  2. update the reporting date directly under 'reporting dates' in the main publication record. (Find the item in my publications and click on the title. You will see an edit icon in the reporting date section on the left.)

No. When an item progresses through review by the ORA review team, the status on Symplectic is not updated from ORA. However, you can monitor its progress by the fact that once the item has completed review, you will receive an email from the ORA review team, and the item will appear in ORA.

Deposit reminders indicate where Symplectic thinks that a publication may be in scope of Open Access policy. Where the dates of publication and acceptance are missing the system will provide a reminder on the basis that the publication could be in scope. In this situation you can prevent further reminders by entering the correct publication date:

  1. Find the item in my publications and click on the title
  2. Under data sources click add manual record or find the manual record and click edit record
  3. Add date of publication
  4. When entering a missing date of publication you will also need to add the date of acceptance as it is a mandatory field. If not available (eg from publisher’s website) then for publications with a date of publication prior to 1 January 2016 you can enter date of publication in lieu of date of acceptance.
  5. Click blue save button at bottom of screen

Click on a publication title from your list of ‘My Publications’ (Menu tab > Publications). Beneath the title you will see the output type (eg Journal Article). Click on the edit (pen) icon to the right of it.

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Select the correct output type from the dropdown menu and click ‘Save’.

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Due to a known problem there are a limited number of cases where Symplectic displays an incorrect status. We recommend that you:

  1. Check for a first deposit date. Generally, first deposit date is the most reliable indicator of deposit. This will give an initial indicator as to whether an item has been deposited.
  2. Check whether the item is in ORA (remember that ORA requires the removal of ‘:’ from the search string)
  3. If the deposit is available in ORA, rest assured that the deposit has been made and deposit details will be available for the REF process as required.
  4. Open access administrative contacts may wish to consider adding an explanatory note via OA Monitor Exceptions functionality.
  5. Please note - the record may be a duplicate of one which has already been deposited. Check for duplication by searching by title within My Publications (or Menu > Explore > System search). If you find duplicate records, and one has a status of Deposited but the other does not, you can merge the two duplicate records. The merge will create just one Deposited record.

I receive the following error message when trying to deposit an item in Symplectic: ‘The repository experienced a problem and indicated failure of the file upload’

  1. This may be caused by trying to deposit on a duplicate record which has previously been deposited (but later removed from ORA as a duplicate, thus making a new deposit impossible).
  2. Search for duplicates in your ‘My Publications’ listing (using the title filter if needed).
  3. If you find duplicate records, and one has a status of Deposited but the other does not, you can merge the two duplicate records (check carefully beforehand that they are the same publication). The merge will create just one deposited record.

If you receive the deposit error message but cannot identify duplicate records, please contact the Symplectic Helpdesk for further guidance.

After deposit

There is no notification email of a successful deposit to the Oxford University Research Archive (ORA). However, on deposit of your AAM to ORA via SE, a record for your work is automatically created in the repository displaying the details you entered in the deposit form (title, author, journal title etc). The full text is not visible immediately in the repository as it transfers to ORA under embargo. ORA staff receive notification of the deposit and review the deposit details including:

  • confirm the correct file version has been deposited (AAM not publisher PDF)
  • check and enhance bibliographic details (adding abstract, key words, additional author information, links to the publisher website, publisher statement etc)
  • check funder information (correctly acknowledged and policy with regards to embargo periods)
  • check publisher information (self-archiving details, open access (OA) policy and embargo requirements)
  • check REF open access policy information (embargo policies meet REF expectations)
  • pass article processing charge (APC) requests onto the APC team (other responsibilities with regards to funders, APCs and Creative Commons licensing are not dealt with by the ORA team)

Once the deposit has been reviewed, ORA review staff will send you the link to the item in the repository and/or contact you with any queries arising from deposit.

After publication

ORA review staff will apply the embargo period given in the publisher policy to the deposited AAM from the date of publication. The version permitted to be OA under the publisher’s self-archiving policy will be released at the end of this embargo period. If your work has been published OA (ie you have paid an APC) and the publisher PDF can be used, ORA review staff will download this from the publisher website and release the file in ORA – the AAM should however still be the version deposited. At the end of the embargo period ORA review staff will enhance the ORA record with any further information resulting from publication (page numbers, journal volume/issue details, DOI, etc).

ORA review staff will not contact you again at the end of the embargo period. The file will be released at the URL provided at first review.

For queries regarding a deposited AAM contact

When you upload a file in SE the file transfers immediately to the Oxford University Research Archive (ORA). Files are not stored in SE; they are stored within ORA. The link in SE does not currently resolve to an accessible area of the research archive, so when selecting the link the page returns blank.

On deposit of your publication a record for your work is automatically created in ORA displaying the details you entered in the deposit form (title, author, journal title etc). The full text is not visible immediately in the repository as it transfers to ORA under embargo. ORA staff receive notification of the deposit and review the deposit details including confirming the correct file version has been deposited (AAM not publisher PDF).

Once the deposit has been reviewed, ORA staff will send you the link to the item in the repository and/or contact you with any queries arising from deposit.

If you have a query regarding a deposited file contact ORA.

Later in 2017 we expect to be able to update Symplectic with information about an item’s current status from ORA (the Oxford Research Archive), but at the moment (March 2017) it is not updated. To check on the actual status in ORA, you can search for the item at

You should still deposit. The ORA review team will then ensure that availability of the item is made in full accordance with publisher copyright and archiving policies. Notwithstanding publisher terms about availability, REF policy still requires that a deposit to ORA is made within the required timeframe.

There is a separate set of FAQS: ‘The role of the OA admin contact and FAQs. This is available via your divisional OA Sharepoint site:

ContEd | GLAM | Humanities | MPLS | MSD | SSD .

There is also termly training.


The grant either does not exist in Symplectic Elements, or exists and you are not linked to it.

Currently, SE holds any grant (excluding studentships) in Oracle Financials (R12) from:

  • Funders of funding type Research Council or UK/EU/non-EU Charity
  • Other funders that use Researchfish
  • the University’s John Fell Fund
  • European Commission (including ERC)

(n.b. grants in Researchfish are imported subject to a matching funder reference in Oracle).

Researchfish is the outcomes reporting tool used by a wide range of funders including UK Research Councils.

Once a grant is imported, you will be linked to a grant if a) you are associated with that grant in Oracle Financials (or in Researchfish) and b) you can be identified by your SSO (Oracle Financials data) or university email address (Researchfish data).

To check whether a grant is imported into Symplectic Elements but not linked to you, use the System Search (Menu  > Explore > System Search) tab. If there are too many results you can restrict the search to grants using the ‘Advanced’ search:

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If a grant is not in Symplectic at all but you think it should be, please contact the Sympletic helpdesk.

If a grant exists in Symplectic Elements (you see it on a publication record or find it via a search using ‘Explore’) that you should be linked to as a PI or researcher but are not, please contact someone already linked to it (Principal Investigator if there is one recorded). To identify them, click on the relevant grant to take you to the grant detail page. Halfway down that page you will see ‘Connections to Other People and Elements’, and go the ‘Users’ section.

Links between grants and users are initially imported from Researchfish and Oracle Financials where the user’s details in SE can be matched by SSO (Oracle Financials) or email (Researchfish). Links can also be created by any user already linked to the grant.

To be linked to a grant please contact one of the users already linked to it – the Principal Investigator if there is one recorded. To find the names of users already linked go to the grant detail page, go down to the ‘Connections to Other People and Elements’ section and find the ‘Users’ field.

If there is no one already linked to it, please contact the Symplectic Helpdesk.

Not all of them. You can create links from grants to publications but you will still need to log into Researchfish to complete the other required information and to submit.

Links you create in Symplectic elements (SE) will be exported to the Researchfish system every January, so you will not have to re-enter data for the UKRI Researchfish collection in February/March of that year.

New grants are imported from Oracle Financials (and Researchfish) once a month.

If you are linked to a grant this is because you are associated with it either in Oracle Financials (as Project Manager or Task Manager) or in Researchfish (as PI).

If you wish to unlink yourself you should email in order to have the source data amended. (If you unlink in Symplectic Elements without amended the source data, you will be ‘relinked’ to it during the next data import.)

At the moment we do not import data on studentships.


The publications reports will include publications with a blank reporting date in an attempt to include all publications potentially within the selected date criteria. However, these could include  publications outside of your date criteria. To mitigate this, you can additionally consider data in the following fields: Date of acceptance, Online publication date, Date awarded OR Presentation date OR Presented date OR Publication date, Date created at source. The latter could rule out items if created prior to the dates you are interested in.

Other questions

An individual's h-index will be updated when the data in SE is refreshed and the user accepts new publications, should there be any to approve. In general, SE currently refreshes data sources after each user change or every 14 days. A refresh of citations is done daily, which recalculates all the statistics tables except h-index every time it runs. After this is completed the h-index will be recalculated daily.

Further information:


SE displays Almetric badges at a publication level, but not at any other level.

SE does not download pre-calculated h-index information from any data source provider. Rather, SE calculates the h-index from citation information that it explicitly holds against publications for a user in the system.

For citation data sources, the h-index for a user is calculated as follows:

  1. All approved publications for a user are identified.
  2. All those publications that do not have a record from the chosen data source are discarded.
  3. The standard formula for calculating the h-index is applied to the remaining records (a good source of information and how to calculate the h-index can be found on Wikipedia).
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