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Symplectic Elements Help Guide: Elements Support Portal


Symplectic Elements is the research information management system for Carnegie Mellon University. Provided by the University Libraries, it can be used to collect and analyze research output, and can serve as the single ‘research profile’ that you need to keep track of professional activities and publications. 


To edit your Elements profile, visit and log in with your CMU credentials.


To view the public profile directory, please visit Scholars at CMU, 


For help with using Elements, explore the documents below or contact




Who can use Elements?
Elements has been setup for all faculty and academic staff. Accounts are created on the user’s behalf from a feed from Workday. Individuals who are not faculty or academic staff can still have an account created if necessary by contacting


What can Elements be used for?

Elements can be used to: 

  •    Automate the building of publication lists
  •    Generate full CVs and NIH BioSketches quickly and easily
  •    Rapidly assess research impact using citation metrics and Altmetric tools


How do I login to Elements?
Users can access Elements at Users will be asked to login to Elements using their Andrew ID and password via Shibboleth. 


Can I designate a proxy to maintain my Elements information and profile?
Yes. Go to Menu>Account Settings>Manage Settings>Mange delegates.  Keep in mind that you can only designate a proxy if that person possesses an Elements account. 


Can proxies be for a group or unit?
Yes. ‘Research Managers’ are users who have been delegated as a proxy for a college, school, or department. Users can be assigned as a Research Manager by the Elements administrators by contacting


Who can see my Elements profile by default?
Your Elements profile is only visible to you and people with administrative access. The latter may include CMU librarians and technical staff who work with the Elements system, Elements technical staff, and department and college administrators who have been granted access to view college and department profiles.

I have a well-curated Google Scholar profile.  Can I just import my publications into Elements?
Yes. You can export your Google Scholar publications into a BibTex formatted bibliography and then import this file into Elements.  For detailed instructions, please see the Importing Items in Bulk help document.


Can I make my Elements profile public?
Yes.  Users can make their Elements profile available in two ways: 

  1. Through the Scholars at CMU portal,
  2. Through the use of the Elements API for external sites. 

Both options require a user to change their profile privacy level from ‘Internal’ to Public.’ This can be managed by selecting the 'Public' bubble option under “Change profile privacy level” when editing your profile.


What do I do if my position title is incorrect?
The user’s position title is fed to Elements in the monthly user feed. Please contact the Elements Administrators to have your title corrected by contacting


How does Elements find its publication data?
Elements harvests publication data from a number of sources.  As part of the campus roll-out preparation, the liaison librarian for each user has configured the publications search settings for their profiles. Additionally, the liaison librarian or the user’s proxy or research manager has claimed publications that are tied to their confirmed publication identifiers. This minimizes the number of pending publications that you need to accept or reject upon first using Elements. 


What identifiers does Elements use to find and claim publications?
Elements utilizes both author identifiers and email addresses to find, and when possible, auto-claim publication records. Elements utilizes ORCiD, ScopusIDs, Dimensions Researcher IDs, ResearcherID, SSRN Author IDs, and arXiv Author Identifiers. Elements utilizes the user’s CMU email address ( by default, but other email addresses can be added as well. 


How do you enter a book review or journal article review?
Reviews should be entered using the Journal Article publication entry type. Please select ‘Review’ as the Sub-Type. 


Why do I have such a high number of Pending publications?
This is an indication that your search settings are not optimal.  This can happen if you have a common last name, or particularly if a researcher in the field of High Energy Physics shares your name (due to the large number of authors on HEP papers and the likelihood of a CMU affiliation on those publications). To optimize your search parameters, see the Optimizing Search Settings document or contact for help.


Why is Elements not finding a lot of my publications?
This could be an indication that your search parameters are too narrow.  To optimize your search parameters, see the Optimizing Search Settings document or contact for help. If your search settings are already broad, and Elements still isn’t finding publications, it may be that your publications are not indexed in the databases searched by Elements.  Elements routinely searches Scopus, Web of Science and CrossRef.  Depending on your College or Department settings it may also search arXiv, PubMed, RePEc or other sources. Contact for help adding databases to your search. You can also add items individually that aren’t being found. See the documents Add Individual Items from a Database and Add a Book or Chapter  for more information.


How can I import an individual publication from a database like Web of Science to Elements?
To import individual items from databases, please see the Add individual items from a database document.

Can I export my publications from Elements?
Yes. Go to Menu>Publications.  Select individual records or ‘Select all’ to export all the records on the page. An export button is available to choose from to export the records into the selected format.


Can I add pre-prints?
Yes, users can add pre-prints. When entering a manual record for a journal article entry, use the ‘Status’ field to identify the stage of the publication when adding it to Elements. Once published the pre-print record can be merged with the source record.


When I enter a manual entry of a publication, Elements asks me to link it to a grant. Do I have to link my publication to a grant?
No, you do not have to link a publication to a grant. By default, Elements will ask you this question when inputting a manual publication record. When presented the question, select ‘not externally funded.’ This will complete the entry of the manual publication record to a user’s profile.


What do I do if I don’t see an entry that is suited for my Professional Activity?
Please contact the Elements Administrators to discuss your professional activity. If necessary, a new entry type will be created. 


Is it possible to enter only Month and Year instead of a full MM-DD-YYYY?
Yes, you can enter just month and year. It has to be the abbreviated month name and the full 4-digit year entry. For example, Jun 2020. Please use the abbreviated listings for month found in Elements.


Are dates necessary to create a Professional Activity entry?
Yes. At a minimum, an entry must have a Start/Award Date. Elements uses dates to create reporting dates, which allows records to be searched and queried. Professional Activities can be entered with an abbreviated month and full four-digit year entry. For example, Jun 2020.


Can professional activities be harvested from any external sources?
No. All professional activities have to be manually entered into a profile. This is the only module that does not contain a feed or external harvesting option.


Where does the Grants data come from?
Grants data is imported into Elements from the Office of Sponsored Programs. This data is used to feed entries for External CMU Grants. Internal CMU Grants and Non-CMU Grants are manually entered into Elements. 


Why can’t I edit my External CMU Grant record?
External CMU Grants cannot be modified, as they have been fed from an external system based on campus. 


How do I update/revise information on my External CMU Grant records?
Users who wish to have their grant reviewed and updated within Elements should contact the CMU Office for Sponsored Programs ( about their suggested updates and/or revisions. Any updates will be made available through the data feed to Elements when it is run at the next cycle. 


Can I enter CMU Grants that are not managed by the CMU Office for Sponsored Programs?
Yes, CMU grants that are not managed by the Office of Sponsored Programs can be entered manually as an Internal CMU Grant. 


Can I enter grant records for grants awarded by my prior institutions?
Yes, users with grant awards from other institutions can create a manual record by entering their grant as a Non-CMU Grant. 


Why do I not see all of my External CMU Grants?
Some External CMU Grant agreements have confidentiality requirements that restrict the sharing of information about these grants outside of CMU. Additional External CMU Grants may contain other sensitive information. Faculty who wish to have their grant reviewed and made available for being fed into Elements should direct any questions to the CMU Office for Sponsored Programs at 


Can Elements find grant records not maintained by CMU OSP?
Yes. Elements can find grant records published in Dimensions. These records can be set to be suggested or automatically claimed if a user possesses a DimensionsID. Users can review their identifiers for a suggested DimensionsID by going to Menu>My Account>Data Source Search>Automatic claiming. 


What is Scholars at CMU?
Scholars at CMU,, is a modern easy-to-maintain search and discovery interface that repurposes the rich information and often unique data already collected within a user's Elements profile to populate a fully-rounded public profile.


What information is used to make my Scholars at CMU profile?
A Scholars at CMU profile  can include an Elements profile biographical information, publications, grants, professional activities, teaching activities. It also can contain useful information on a user's Availability and search mechanisms using the Fields of Research tags.