Elements Usage Policy




Symplectic Elements (hereafter ‘Elements’) is a Research Information Management System, that allows researchers and doctoral students to capture, analyse and showcase their research activity within the community.

This policy sets out the expectations and guidelines that users are expected to follow when interacting with Elements (Elements - University of Wolverhampton (wlv.ac.uk)).

The implementation of this policy is in accordance with the University’s core values, to be:

  • Ethical
  • Respectful
  • Transparent
  • Inclusive and fair
  • Challenging
  • Confident
  • Collaborative
  • Professional

At Wolverhampton, Elements Users are defined using four categories:

1)     Staff with a significant responsibility for research includes academic staff with the following role profiles: Teaching, Research and Enterprise, and Research only.

2)     Research managers include the Dean of Research, the Pro Vice-Chancellor Research and Knowledge Exchange, the Vice Chancellor, the Director of the Doctoral College, Associate Deans of Research, Heads of Research Centres and UoA Co-ordinators. This category of user may also belong to category 1.

3)     Research administrators include the Head of Research Services, the Research Systems and Operations Manager, the Wolverhampton Intellectual Repository and E-Thesis (WIRE) Team and the Research Support Administrators in each Faculty.

4)    Doctoral Students include current enrolled PhD and Professional Doctorate students.

Individuals who fall into one of the above categories but do not have access to Elements, should log a call with the HR Service Desk using the HR portal https://wolvs.service-now.com/hr, or may need to log a call with the IT Self Service Portal https://wolvs.service-now.com/it_portal if the issue is technical.

The User shall use the data held in Elements in accordance with the role assigned to them by the System Administrator of Elements.

The Research Policy Unit retains the right to reuse the information within the system for training, documentation, and reporting purposes, without explicit consent from Elements Users.

Personal Data

The User shall process any personal data held in Elements in accordance with the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the University’s data protection policy and guidelines that are in force: (Data Protection - University of Wolverhampton (wlv.ac.uk)).

Disclosure of Data

The User shall not disclose (verbally or in writing) any data held in Elements to any unauthorised person. Unauthorised persons may include colleagues and other staff of the University, including other Elements users who may not have authority to access particular types of data. Data shall be disclosed only to those with a legitimate need to use it.

Authorised (by Elements at Wolverhampton) Users of the Application Programming Interface (API) are permitted to publish the profiles of university researchers on a public-facing website where they have been authorised to do so.

In handling the data held in Elements, the User shall comply with the University’s Information Security policy (WLV Policies - University of Wolverhampton).

The User shall not release their log-in details to any other person and must take all reasonable steps to ensure that these details remain confidential and secure at all times.

Any data saved from the system (whether in electronic or printed form) shall be held in a secure and confidential manner and shall be held only for as long as it is needed for Elements/ research administration purposes.

If the User downloads data to a laptop or other portable device, they must ensure that the device is encrypted.

If leaving their desk, the User shall log out of Elements or lock their computer.

If accessing Elements remotely (i.e. away from the workplace), the User shall ensure that data displayed on the screen is not visible to unauthorised persons.

The User shall immediately notify the Research Systems and Operations Manager if they become aware of any unauthorised use of Elements or its data or if any of the data are lost, destroyed, or become damaged, corrupted, or unusable (whether due to the User’s use of the system or otherwise).


Staff data (i.e. name, title) are populated from Agresso and cannot be edited within the Elements user interface. Issues with data quality should be raised with the HR Department through a documented process.

Staff with a significant responsibility for research are required to:

·  Have a publicly viewable researcher profile (via the Discovery Module) integrated with the University website.

· Fully complete their researcher profile by populating the following: Research overview, Research Interests, Teaching Summary, Degrees, Institutional Appointments, Building Address, Office Extension, and publications, including a staff photo. The following sections are optional, if not applicable to the user; Professional Activities, Impact (including corroborating evidence) and Teaching Activities (doctoral supervision and doctoral examinations).

·   Input their Author IDs (e.g. Scopus, ORCiD) to enable the automatic claiming function of the software.

·   Deposit publications to WIRE using Elements, ensuring they remain compliant with Open Access guidelines.

·   Maintain and regularly update their profile information.

Staff members will have the opportunity to upload a photo, providing it aligns with the following guidance:

·  In the first instance, a professional photo taken by the University should be used if available.

·  If this is not available, another photo may be used provided that the picture is consistent with staff photos i.e. a head and shoulder shot. Please note this picture should not be a selfie.

By completing their profile, staff will create a comprehensive and integrated record of their research activity and expertise and, from this, create an automated CV.

Elements will hold Research grant data from 31st July 2017 which has been populated from Agresso. Each grant will be linked to the principal investigator and will have the option to link other Elements users to the grant. Users can manually add pre-2017 grants or grants that are awarded outside of this institution into the Elements user interface.

An object within Elements refers to a publication, grant, impact, professional activity, and teaching activities. Elements users are expected to create links between objects to bring their research information together, for example, creating a link between a publication and a grant.

Some users will have the ability to impersonate other users based on permissions granted in Elements. Individuals with the right to impersonate users, will be able to do everything that the end user can: modify search settings; approve or reject publications; merge or split records; create links between publications and other data types.

Before impersonating a user, permission must be sought from the user being impersonated. All actions taken when impersonating another user will be recorded within the history of the object being viewed or changed. Misusing the impersonate function may result in disciplinary action.

Please note: Administrators are not permitted to deposit into WIRE on behalf of other users. If this action occurs, this will result in publications not being assigned to the correct collection in WIRE.

There are some significant benefits of using the impersonate function such as helping to support users by doing actions on their behalf and using the function to help troubleshoot issues that the user may be having. Although this function is available to use and is a benefit of using Elements, there is no expectation set from the Research Policy Unit that users must use it.

User groups in Elements have been formed for each Faculty and are then further broken down into Research Centres. Any changes to the membership of Research Centres should be communicated to the Research Systems and Operations Manager, so updates can be made within Elements.

Any change to Research Centre name, when approved by the University Research Committee, will be communicated to the Research Systems and Operations Manager for Elements to be updated.

Research Support Administrators and Research Managers will only have access to the Faculty and Research Centres that they support.

Doctoral Students can:

·      Create profiles by populating Biography, Publications, and Professional Activities,

·       Upload a photo,

·       Export a CV,

·       Search for other users,

·       Claim their publications held in WIRE,

·    Deposit publications to WIRE through the Elements user interface, except for theses and dissertations as these will be submitted through the normal procedure using WIRE.

Students will have the opportunity to upload a photo, providing it is a professional, head and shoulder shot. (Please note selfies are not permitted).

It is expected that Doctoral Students will maintain and regularly update their profiles. Doctoral Students will have the option to have their profile publicly displayed on an external website and on the University website.

Access to Elements for Doctoral Students is determined by the student’s enrolment status being “current”. Therefore, failure to enrol will result in access to Elements being temporarily withdrawn until enrolment has been completed.

When a Doctoral Student completes their programme of study, access to Elements will be withdrawn, but the profile will remain in Elements.

If a student becomes a member of staff with significant responsibility for research, the student account will become deactivated and a staff account will be created. The information on the student profile would need to be manually copied over to the staff profile by the user before deactivation occurs.

The data in Elements will be used to manage and co-ordinate research assessments such as the Research Excellence Framework (REF), internal reviews and annual reports. Assessments may include aggregation of data into report format or the selection of data for a particular submission.

All staff members with significant responsibility for research are required to select their research outputs and provide additional information for each output via Elements, as agreed in the REF Code of Practice. These outputs will undergo a peer review process, where they will be graded using the REF assessment criteria and users will be provided feedback via Elements.

Elements will be used to submit REF1a +REF 1b staff data direct from Agresso (HR) system as well as REF2 data (outputs), which will produce an XML file to import in the REF Submission System.

Outside of the REF, Elements may be used for other reporting activities, which require all staff members with significant responsibility for research to ensure their profile is kept up to date.

Research manager users are expected to encourage the completion and update of staff profiles.

Staff users are expected to encourage the use of Elements amongst their Doctoral Students.

Any breach of the terms and conditions listed within this policy will be regarded as a serious disciplinary matter. In addition, any failure to comply with the provisions of the Data Protection Act may render the University, or in certain circumstances the user, liable to prosecution, as well as giving rise to civil liabilities. The University is entitled to suspend or remove access to Symplectic Elements (‘Elements’) for any breach of this agreement.

There are no exceptions to this policy.

This Policy was approved by the University’s Executive Board on 11 July 2023. The University may change this Policy at any time, and where appropriate. Where a policy is not due for review, but is found to require updating, it will remain published, unless the reasons for review render it obsolete.


This policy should be read in conjunction with:

For general queries regarding Research Policies, Procedures and guidelines contact Jill Morgan, Research Integrity Manager, by email: J.Morgan4@wlv.ac.uk

For general queries, please contact the University Corporate Compliance Team via email:  compliance@wlv.ac.uk.


Version 3.0 Author/Owner Research Policy Unit
Approved Date 11 July 2023 Approved by University Executive Board
Review Date 11 July 2026