Dimensions is extracting references between publications either from existing databases (such as CrossrefPubMed Central, or OpenCitations data), or directly from the full text record provided by the content publisher. Reference extraction is not limited to journal items, but also includes citations from and to books, conference proceedings, and pre-prints.

Beyond publications, Dimensions extracts references and links to grants, clinical trials and patents to allow users to gain a superior understanding of the context of a piece of research by eliminating the walls and separations between isolated data silos.