Release 6.4

12 September 2019 by Aaron Ballagh in Featured, Notices, Release Notes

Release 6.4
Upgraded free and open scholarly API, becoming a Lens partner, new aggregation and citation metrics and more!

Upgraded free and open scholarly API, becoming a Lens partner, new aggregation and citation metrics and more!

N.B. We are no longer supporting Internet Explorer, all other modern and standards compliant browsers are still supported (e.g. Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Chrome, Safari, Opera).

We believe the climate crisis is real and that we need diverse solutions, fast.

We also believe that both the public and private sector will need to partner to create these solutions. And we need the best open information possible for evidence-based problem solving.

So let’s stop erecting artificial barriers that prevent business, civil society, government and academia from freely discovering and mapping partnerships, opportunities, risks and trajectories for products and practices for a better future. While we have always provided the Lens web application for free, and with the confidence that your privacy is assured, we now realise that many institutions have unique in-house data and analysis needs. So we’re dialing it up to 11.  

In this release, is pleased to announce version 1.2 of the Lens Scholarly API that will provide free (of both cost and of encumbrance) access for public and private, non-profit and for-profit users (see Lens scholarly API for conditions and to apply for API access). We will release our Lens Patent API under similar conditions soon.

Building on the constructive user feedback from the initial API release, we have expanded API access to provide more flexibility in the way Lens data can be used. If you want to take your API use and participation to a higher level, or you simply value as a public service, consider becoming a Partner with the Lens.


Example citation comparison chart type with patent / scholar citation ratio

  • Version 1.2 of the Lens Scholarly API now offers two plans to cater for different use cases:
    • Free - Based on user feedback, the introductory free plan has been upgraded and now includes 5,000 API requests and up to 5 million records per month;
    • Lens Partners - This option offers a range of customisable plans for those who require a higher level of API access and is negotiated on a case by case basis.
  • New scholarly analysis visualisation aggregation/metric options. Scholarly analysis chart settings have been updated to provide new aggregation and metric options including:
    • Average or Sum of Patent Citations or Scholar Citations,
    • Unique Count of Citing Patents or Citing Scholarly Works, and
    • Patent / Scholar Citation Ratio metric has been added to the citation comparison visualisation.
    • These metrics can be applied to all existing scholarly fields (Institution, Author, Journals, etc), see our example dashboard.
  • Re-skinned the PatCite app, with a new landing page, updated theme and improved responsive design.


Example of the new scholarly analysis metrics.


Additional minor changes (user feedback):

Scholarly search results:

  • A check-box for controlling search stemming has been added to the “Query Tools” sidebar filter. By default, stemming is enabled.
  • Added choose “More” modal to Institution Country/Region and Publication Type in the sidebar filter
  • Added External URL field to scholarly CSV export, providing a single, version of record URL for scholarly works.

Structured search page:

  • Added Title, Abstract, Keyword, Field of Study scholarly search options
  • Added examples to the field tool-tips
  • In the text editor tab, a warning message for queries with URLs greater than 2000 characters, and edited scholarly searches containing the NOT operator
  • Added auto-suggest to the Institution country and patent jurisdiction fields

Scholarly Analysis page:

  • Field drop-down lists in scholarly analysis chart settings are now grouped and sorted
  • Added Restrict to Filtered Values check-box for grouped bar charts, scatter plots and line charts
  • Added option to download analysis chart values in CSV and JSON format
  • Upgraded Vega-Lite library to latest version (4.0.0)
  • New example charts added to the scholarly analysis wizard
  • Improved the report/presentation mode responsive design

Patent Analysis page:

  • Added a customisable patent scatter plot to allow users to browse patent citations
  • Restored the Top patents cited by other patent chart in the patent search results page


  • Improved citation sort options for patent searches, adding Cited works, Cited by other patents, Cites other patents
  • Improvements to the “Active Access” tab to display additional API details
  • Added support for the Scholarly Works Search Widget integrated search plugin
  • Added support for searching patents in “Other” languages
  • Added a link to the Cited Works tab of patents for viewing the cited works in a scholarly search
  • The institutions and funders lists on scholarly articles pages are now collapsed by default to display the first 20 institutions/funders
  • Added the ability to sort collections in the user work area


  • Fix for auto-suggest fields to ignore quotation characters
  • Fix 'Dashboard not Public' error message when updating saved dashboards 
  • Fix scholarly links with Microsoft Academic identifiers in PatCite
  • Fix rotate clockwise button on patent full-text viewer 
  • Fix real-time scholarly works filters binding in query details
  • Fix missing header in presentation mode for collection analyses
  • Fix display issues for bar chart with groupings and alternate bar colours applied
  • Fix customise patent analysis drop-down menu from appearing when removing a chart
  • Fix regression on author auto-suggest search
  • Fix regression bug that introduced duplicated external identifiers across a small number of records

API & Data Improvements:

  • Updates to the Lens Scholarly APIv1.2 include:
    • Implementation of an API access module for managing API requests
    • Performance improvements including memory and projection optimisation
    • Improved query validation including field recognition within string-based queries
    • Additional rate-limit headers and a new endpoint for accessing current API usage
    • Improvements to supported queries including support for include and exclude projection parameters in the same query
    • Migration of rate limiting from Memcached to Redis
    • Other bug fixes (user feedback)
    • See the API documentation for more details.

Interested in helping us improve?

Become a Lens partner.

There are many contributions that we can discuss together on a case-by-case basis to enable a new generation of problem solvers.

For example, a partner can request and sponsor new Lens functionality, assist in acquiring and accessing new open data, integrate Lens data into their own web applications, share open source code, provide pro bono work, enrich the Lens support content, and promote by posting tutorials or blog/tweet on the various tools. Several Lens sponsors, in the academic or industrial world, invested non-monetary and monetary resources to help create new features and applications in the Lens, increase transparency to reduce risks and boost confidence in business. You have now an opportunity to do the same.

We value your comments and feedback on the API via our API survey. If you or your library have not taken it yet, please check it out. For current API users, please make sure the Lens logo is visible on your website, and for new users, upon completing the scholarly API request, please make sure to provide your full name, your organisation address (official email address as well please), and a comprehensive description of the intended use of the scholarly data. For more details on the terms and attribution requirements for this service, please see the Scholarly API Terms of Use or the Lens general Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

If you need guidance to navigate the API, please check the online documentation, and to report bugs/issues, usability related questions or provide feature requests, please use our GitHub issue tracker. For general questions on the Lens different features, please visit our Support Center to check out the latest tutorials or contact us at with your queries/comments.