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OpenAlex: Exploring Research Intelligence Using Open Data: What is OpenAlex?

What is OpenAlex ?

OpenAlex is an open source platform to index the research literature, journals, researchers and institutions all over the world. Its name is inspired by the ancient Library of Alexandria in Egypt. This project is run by OurResearch which is a nonprofit that aims to make scholarly communication fairer, more inclusive, and more transparent. 

Compared with the traditional literature databases, such as Scopus and Web of Science, OpenAlex is free to access its underlying data and source code and also the database makes use of PIDs (Persistent Identifier) to get data from different open sources, including Crossref, ORCID and the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).

This platform offers numerous features, such as the ability to explore research outputs by institution, country and more, an interactive interface to visualize research outputs and tools to analyze research trends. 

How to access data?

In general, there are three ways to retrieve data from OpenAlex:

  1. Making use of APIs to extract data as no authentication is required (Most recommended because of its flexibility and generous daily limit)
  2. A web-based graphical user interface (GUI) is launched since July of 2023, and this interface can make it easier to access the data
  3. Downloading a database snapshot in JSON Lines format

What are the data sources and types?

OpenAlex is a platform that collects and standardizes data from various sources.  The two most important data sources are MAG (Microsoft Academic Graph), which is a large database of scholarly publications and related information and Crossref, which is a non-profit organization that provides a digital infrastructure for scholarly contents. Some other sources are also included as below:

ORCIDRORDOAJUnpaywallPubmedPubmed CentralThe ISSN International CentreInternet Archive and more

8 Types of Data:

  • Works - journal articles, books, datasets, and theses
  • Authors - people creates works
  • Sources - such as journals, conferences, and repositories
  • Institutions - Universities and other organizations to which authors claim affiliations
  • Concepts - Topics assigned to works
  • Publishers: Companies and organizations to distribute works
  • Funders: Organizations fund research
  • Geo: Locations in the world

#4 EdUHK's Publications With Highest Citations For Last 10 Years

 Year Publication Titles Citation

Occurrence, sources, and fate of pharmaceuticals in aquatic environment and soil

Environmental Pollution,


Sulfur-doped g-C3N4 with enhanced photocatalytic CO2-reduction performance

Applied Catalysis B: Environmental,


Plastic waste in the marine environment: A review of sources, occurrence and effects

Science of The Total Environment,


Least Squares Generative Adversarial Networks

2017 IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV),


Review on nanoscale Bi-based photocatalysts

Nanoscale horizons


Heavy metals in food crops: Health risks, fate, mechanisms, and management

Environment International,


2D/2D/0D TiO2/C3N4/Ti3C2 MXene composite S-scheme photocatalyst with enhanced CO2 reduction activity

Applied Catalysis B: Environmental


Design, Fabrication, and Mechanism of Nitrogen‐Doped Graphene‐Based Photocatalyst

Advanced Materials


Isotherm models for adsorption of heavy metals from water - A review



What Is the Impact of ChatGPT on Education? A Rapid Review of the Literature

Education Sciences



The guide provides an overview of OpenAlex, an open scholarly database that offers a range of features. We showcase EdUHK's research intelligence by exploring its Open Access (OA) status, publishing trends, contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and publications with the highest citations. OpenAlex, along with traditional scholarly databases like Scopus and Web of Science, contributes to a more transparent research community through the availability of open data.

Explore EdUHK’s research intelligence using OpenAlex data

Data were retrieved using OpenAlex for the past 10 years on 11 March, 2024. We will explore EdUHK research in term of several perspectives as below:

#1 EdUHK's Publications Towards Open Access (OA) Status (i.e. green, gold, bronze, closed, hybrid, etc.)

Made with Flourish 


The data shows that EdUHK has been increasing the number of research publications available through Open Access (OA) in recent years, and there is a noticeable rise in Gold and Hybrid OA publications. However, the number of Green OA publications has slightly decreased after 2022. You can find  that a significant portion of EdUHK's research publications are still published in journals that require a subscription or payment to access the full content (Closed OA). This indicates that while the number of OA publications from EdUHK is increasing, researchers also continue to publish in traditional subscription-based journals.

#3 Publishing Trends Among EdUHK Researchers For Last 10 Years

Over the past decades, EdUHK researchers have actively collaborated with reputable publishers, including Springer Nature, Elsevier BV, Taylor & Francis, Springer Science+Business Media, and others. This suggests that EdUHK researchers have engaged in collaborations with reputable publishers for disseminating their research findings. The articles published in Springer Nature, Elsevier BV, Taylor & Francis, Springer Science+Business Media are the majority of all publications from EdUHK, and the number of publications are relatively stable.

#2 EdUHK Contribution to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) For Last 10 Years

EdUHK has made significant efforts to contribute to SDGs, particularly in the areas below:
1. quality education: EdUHK's performance in promoting quality education shows a consistent upward trend from 2014 to 2023, and it has the highest number of publications. 
2. reduced inequalities
3. good health and well-being: After 2020, there is a significant increase in the number of publications. We may guess that the focus of research is about the health because of COVID-19.
4. no poverty, peace
5. peace, justic, and strong institutions