Release 8.5

09 June 2022 by Aaron Ballagh in Release Notes

Release 8.5
Initial integration of OpenAlex, additional fields, improved UX and more!

New Features and Improvements

OpenAlex Integration

With this release, we are pleased to announce the initial integration of OpenAlex data into The Lens. Developed by the team at OurResearch, who also provide UnPaywall, ImpactStory and other open tools for the research community, OpenAlex was initiated to provide a replacement for Microsoft Academic Graph (MAG, see The Lens Scholarly MetaRecord Strategy: Beyond Microsoft Academic Graph).

In this initial phase of OpenAlex integration, we have started ingesting the additional scholarly works that were not present in MAG, as well as supplementing some of the metadata gaps left after the retirement of MAG including Fields of Study and Open Access information. This has resulted in the addition of nearly 6M records in The Lens now including OpenAlex identifiers.

In future phases, we will be expanding the coverage of OpenAlex in The Lens as the OpenAlex dataset matures and the MetaRecord merging logic is established.

Field Changes

New Fields

A number of new fields have been added in this release to accommodate OpenAlex and expose additional metadata. The new fields include:

  • ids.openalex field for searching by OpenAlex identifier(s).
  • is_retracted boolean field for flagging retracted scholarly works. Still in beta, the logic behind the retraction flag currently includes:
    • Records from MAG flagged as "Retracted Publication"
    • Records from PubMed with a publishing history containing a "retracted" event.

External Identifiers

The external identifier fields have also been refactored in this release with new fields for top-level identifiers (i.e. DOIs, PubMed Ids, PMC Ids, MAG Ids and CORE Ids). The new field names are now prefixed with ids. and include: ids.doi, ids.pmid, ids.pmcid, ids.magid, ids.coreid and ids.openalex.

N.B. The existing external identifier fields (doi, pmid, pmcid, magid, coreid) will continue to work but will be deprecated in future. We encourage all users using any of these fields in your queries to substitute these fields for the new external identifier fields prefixed with "ids.".

The DOI field has also been refactored to accommodate DOIs from other registration agencies in addition to Crossref, such as DataCite. As such, the doi field has been relabelled from "Crossref DOI" to "DOI".

Open Access

With the addition of OpenAlex, we have also added open access information from OpenAlex as a new open access data source (e.g. open_access.source:openalex). Still in beta, open access information from OpenAlex will be merged with open access evidence from other sources to improve open access information. The data sources for open access evidence include: doaj, pmc-nih, core, unpaywall, openalex and rxiv.

Improved UX

Improvements to the user experience in this release include the enhanced interface on mobile devices to provide better and smoother access to filters, support and the work area overview, and for extremely large screens we have initiated a maximum width threshold of 2200px for improved readability and presentation of content.

Other Improvements and Changes

The Lens is a work in progress and with each release, The Lens team improves on certain features or perfects the quality of the data and the service to provide you with the most comprehensive data we can source. While often these changes stem from users' feedback, they also originate from improved data processing and improvements in the source data. In this release, here is the list of other improvements and changes that were implemented:

  • Updated the Scholarly Data Set Venn Diagram on the structured search page to add OpenAlex
  • Added OpenAlex identifiers to the Sources of scholarly works
  • Updated the CSV exports to include additional fields for:
    • Scholarly Works: added Open Access License and Open Access Colour
    • Patents: added Legal Status
  • Added bibfix and I³ Open Patent Dataset Index to the Lens Labs Community Apps & Data page
  • Added newsletter signup popup notice


  • Fixed an issue in the payment gateway for Individual Commercial Use License Agreements
  • Fixed the access value in the saved query settings modal from defaulting to public
  • Added an error message to the Sequences tab of individual patents when sequence data is not yet available. This can happen with recently published patents, with Sequences typically being added and available in a subsequent data release.
  • Lens Profiles that have been linked to ORCID now have status: ORCID linked

API & Data Improvements:

  • API:
    • Added API endpoints for retrieving the data schema:
    • Added data schema reference to the Swagger UI documentation
    • API Version bump to 2.5.0
      • Scholarly Works data schema version: 1.6.2
      • Patent data schema version: 1.4.0
  • Patents:
    • Added Legal Status to the CSV exports
  • Scholarly Works:
    • Support for the new ids. request fields
    • Added Open Access License and Open Access Colour to the CSV exports
    • Lens Id re-key: This data release also includes a re-key for Scholarly Works Lens Ids to use the earliest Lens Id as the primary record identifier. This has no material impact on users with existing primary Lens Ids remaining the same.

N.B. For guidance navigating the API, please check the API Documentation, and to report bugs/issues, usability related questions, or to request features, please use our GitHub issue tracker.

Policy Changes

With this release the Individual Commercial Use Agreement has been updated with minor changes including:

  • Added "at the time of renewal" to the end of clause 3(d).
  • Updated clause 6.1 to add "Upon providing notice without undue delay".
  • Deleted clauses 7.1(a) and 7.1(b).
  • Updated clause 9, added text outlining the conditions and responsibilities for indemnity.
  • Updated clause 10.1 to add "notice without undue delay".
  • Updated clause 10.2(b) to 30 days instead of 60 days.

Patch Notes

Additional Improvements and Changes:

  • Expanded coverage of scholarly works with OpenAlex identifiers to 32M records
  • Click Outside User Preferences Flyout to Close
  • Highlight selected work area cards
  • Improve work area table hover styles
  • Highlight queries table row if selected
  • Highlight collection table row if selected
  • Style Updates: Better styles for Reset Search Modal
  • Increase author affiliation string truncation limit
  • Include work area filters template on history
  • Added a link to the Nature Biotechnology article on the In4m Methodology page
  • Enable set action sidebar on PatCite search history
  • Enable set action sidebar on PatSeq Finder search history
  • Include support links in work area tips
  • Add applicant and institution banners and logo grid
  • Include Suggest New Logo link on institution banners
  • Add close button to Search Tips modal
  • Removed Microrsoft Academic links (deprecated)
  • Added Source ISSN to Publication Information box for scholarly works
  • Updated the Reports landing page content
  • Add the Climate Innovation Landscape to the Reports landing page and the Apps main menu
  • Re-enable size encoding for scholarly works scatter plots
  • Update classification viewer symbol pattern matching
  • Display USPC classification text fragments in search results
  • Re-enable USPC text search in Classification Explorer
  • Update USPC classification viewer label
  • Click Outside User Preferences Flyout to Close
  • Added Has Granted Patent flag filter
  • Added language menu to the Collective Action, Institutional Toolkits and Lens Labs pages
  • Updated localisation and translated message properties


  • Fix missing style property on extreme width threshold
  • Fix query details title display on collection join
  • Fix reports background at extreme widths
  • Fix customise table label
  • Fix follow button on institution banner
  • Fix journal display in publisher info
  • Fix Edit Toggle on Collection Headers
  • Fix Heading Display Logic
  • Fix search history sidebar query formatting for patents
  • Fix title spacing issue
  • Fix duplicate message property
  • Fix layering issue for mobile sidebar
  • Vanilla theme fix for empty collection toolbar and vanilla theme margins
  • Fix theme switching persistence
  • Fix Lens ID look up for alias Lens IDs

Interested in helping us improve?

  • Collective Action needs connected actors. The Collective Action Project provides a number of different activities for all stakeholders to participate in collective problem solving. See how you can participate.
  • Interested in volunteering your expertise and time to support The Lens? We welcome expressions of interest, please contact us at We are happy to learn more about your skill set to see if there is alignment of expertise and timing to contribute to The Lens and support collective action. The Lens lists open volunteer opportunities through VolunteerMatch.
  • Contact your librarians and let them know about Lens for Institutions and the Institutional Toolkits.
  • If you have published using Lens tools or data, or created an application using the API or data from the Lens, please share your work with us so we can share it with others on Lens Labs to help improve The Lens as a public resource.
  • Share your use case with us and explore how The Lens can help you and keep sending us your feedback on The Lens features and functionality.

The Lens is a public good project run by Cambia, a global social enterprise that is committed to making the innovation process more transparent, inclusive and effective for those seeking to solve problems and make a social impact and thus, we welcome your active engagement, participation, and support.

See our 8.5 Release Newsletter