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Engineering Library: Research Support

Information about the Department of Engineering Library, including information for researchers

Research Support

Welcome to the Engineering Library’s Research Support hub. Here you can find information and resources to support you and your research.

This hub is intended to help guide you through your research journey, from managing and storing your data and choosing where to publish, to sharing your research openly and managing your online profile.

The Engineering Library team offer support and training on various aspects of the research process, so feel free to contact us if you have any questions. If you want to book a one-to-one session for more personalised support, please use our Booking Form.


Research Platforms and Processes

This page lists some useful links to research platforms, processes and things to know for researchers and administrators. If you can’t see what you need here, or if you need any further information, please contact the library team.

Data Management

What is it? There is an increased emphasis in Higher Education on managing and sharing any data produced in the course of research. Many of the research funders supporting work at the University of Cambridge require that research data are openly available with as few restrictions as possible. It can be useful to create a Data Management Plan for your research project. DMP Online helps you to create and share Data Management Plans that meet institutional and funder requirements.

Where to get help: For more information visit the website, see our Managing your data module, or contact the library.


What is it? The University’s Virtual Learning Environment. Every taught course/module at Engineering has its own course within this system to support the teaching and learning of that course. It can be used amongst other things, to collect course work, share course notes and communicate with students. Outside of teaching, it is used as a repository of meeting minutes, agendas and communications.

Where to get help: The Moodle Support team in the library can help with any queries you have, there are online instructions for specific aspects of Moodle for Engineering and centrally.

Open Access

What is it? Most major research funders now have a mandate for outputs to be made Open Access. This means a publication will be freely available online via an Open Access Repository or publisher.  In addition, authors that wish for their publications to be eligible for the next REF also need to make them Open Access. The simplest way to make sure that research outputs are Open Access is to upload the Authors’ Accepted Manuscript to Symplectic Elements. This will enable it to go live on the University Repository.

The University has Open Access publication agreements with specific journals and publishers, who are listed on the Open Access website. Authors publishing in journals with these agreements will not be charged fees. For more information see the Open Access Agreements webpage.

Where to get help: The University’s Open Access website lists University and funders’ Open Access policies and provides advice on how to ensure research is Open Access. If you need support, contact the library team.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

What is it? An audit of research at UK institutions that helps determine funding allocations. Each eligible researcher is expected to submit between one and five publications. An important aspect of making research outputs eligible for this assessment is ensuring they are on an Open Access repository within three months of acceptance for publication. The simplest way to ensure that research outputs meet this requirement is to upload them to Symplectic Elements.

Where to get help: Visit the University Open Access site. If you need support, contact the library or the Department’s REF Administrator.


What is it? ResearchFish allows the UK research councils to gather evidence about how grant money is used and how it affects society. Research outputs can be added via Symplectic Elements throughout the year but must be checked and submitted to ResearchFish during February and March each year.

Where to get help: Visit the Cambridge Research Operations Office site for guidance. You can also watch a video tutorial. If you need support in the Department, contact Derek Matthews.

Symplectic Elements

What is it? A central point of information about research outputs, and the way to upload publications to the University Repository. Researchers should keep their profile up to date by uploading the Author’s Accepted Manuscript of any publication in order to aid with reporting for the REF, ResearchFish and the Department Publications Database. Symplectic Elements is also used to make research outputs Open Access and link them to funding.

Where to get help: Go to Symplectic Elements and log in with your Raven details. If you need support, contact the library or the Research Information Office.

Technical Reports

What are they? Departmental Technical Reports are created by researchers, academics and postgraduates in the Department. Each Technical Report has a unique identifying number, which is generated by the Engineering library. You can then upload your Technical Reports to the University Repository via your Symplectic Elements account.

Where to get help: To receive a Technical Report number, or for help uploading a Technical Report via Symplectic Elements, contact the library.

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Research resources

Cambridge Training: 

The University has a strong Researcher Development Programme full of online training, podcasts, 1:1 support, and lots more.

Cambridge University Libraries have created a useful Research Skills Guide to multiple aspects of research.

Learn about research tools with the 23 Research Things online training programme.

Research Support: 

The University Research Strategy Office site has information on research policies.

Information about various tools and sources of support is available from the Research Information Office.

The University's Office of Scholarly Communication (OSC) covers Open Access, Research Data Management and Thesis Management. 

Open Research / Open Access:  

Information about Open Research is available via the OSC.

For queries about Open Access, see the Open Access website.

Research Systems: 

Access your Symplectic Elements account (Raven login required)

Check your details on ResearchFish


See guidance on funding and grant applications from the Research Operations Office (ROO).

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