The Fields of Research (FOR) classification is a component of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC) system, developed in 2008. It allows all R&D activity to be categorized using a single system. In this respect, it is the methodology used in the R&D that is being considered. The system is hierarchical, with major fields subdivided into minor fields.

The ANZSRC is used in all areas of research and education in Australia and New Zealand. It is used to classify research projects, research outputs, staff-skills and course content (including PhDs). There are three inter-linked classification types: Type of Activity (TOA), Fields of Research (FOR), and Socio-economic Objective (SEO). Only FOR is present in Dimensions.

The FOR has three hierarchical levels: Divisions, Groups and Fields. Division represents a broad subject area or research discipline, while Groups and Fields represent increasingly detailed subsets of these categories. There are 22 Divisions, 157 Groups and 1238 Fields.

We have emulated the second level of the system only (Groups) in Dimensions. We have used a reverse engineering technique, based on machine learning, where a corpus of manually coded grants are examined and the manual codes applied are reproduced by the algorithm. This is then checked against actual codes, and changes made to improve the algorithm.

The Fields of Research cover all areas of academic research at a high level, so it works well for non-granular investigations into funding by broad subject areas. Therefore, FOR is good for comparative analyses across all academia at a fairly high level.


Fields of Research and Journal versus Publication classification

Article classification in Dimensions is carried out on a single document level basis wherever possible, allowing for more precise examination and filtering of search results. However this requires a minimum amount of text from each individual document in order to assign a category, which can lead to many publications not receiving a classification. Due to this, since August 2019, Dimensions no longer only uses automatic classification of individual documents, but in cases where documents cannot be classified individually due to lack of information, we will now assign an FOR code based on journal level classification of the journal from which the document came (if available). (Journal level classification may also be used to validate the assigned classification codes for articles, but this information is not displayed). This system therefore includes the best possible situation - providing a document level category assignment where possible, and falling back to a journal level categorisation where this is not possible, so that there is still a category assignment which can be used for filtering and search purposes.