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Searching the literature: an introduction to OpenAlex and the latest OpenAlex Browser

This webinar, presented by Associate Professor Ian Shemilt, will provide participants with an introduction to OpenAlex and our latest OpenAlex Browser tools.

September 27, 2022
13:00 - 14:00

Please note *Registration for the webinar essential

This webinar will be presented by Ian Shemilt, Associate Professor of Evidence Synthesis Methods and an Associate Director of the EPPI Centre, University College London, UK.  Associate Professor Shemilt's research interests focus on developing methods for systematic reviews conducted to inform policy and practice decisions.

Associate Professor Shemilt is especially interested in developing, applying and evaluating novel methods and automation tools with the potential to improve the speed and efficiency of systematic review and evidence synthesis production workflows at scale. This includes an ongoing programme of methods research and development investigating use of the OpenAlex dataset for continuous evidence surveillance and efficient study identification in systematic reviews and related use scenarios.

Associate Professor Shemilt is an active member of the international systematic review community and has previously served as a member of the Campbell Collaboration Steering Group, a Co-chair of the Campbell Methods Coordinating Group, a member of the Cochrane Methods Executive Committee, and a Co-convenor of the Campbell & Cochrane Economics Methods Group. He is also an active member of the International Collaboration for the Automation of Systematic Reviews (ICASR) and Cochrane’s Living Evidence Network (LEN).


The OpenAlex dataset (formerly Microsoft Academic Graph) is a regularly updated, open access repository comprising >250 million bibliographic records of research articles from across science. If the majority of study reports eligible for inclusion in systematic reviews are available, and can be made easily findable, in the OpenAlex dataset, then the focus of methods for updating reviews can start to shift away from conventional searches of multiple databases, towards automated searches of this single, potentially comprehensive source.

A key feature of the OpenAlex dataset is that its records are connected in a large network graph of conceptual, citation and other relationships. This has offered an opportunity to develop new machine learning tools that exploit network graph features, alongside text and other features, of the records, to help identify new relevant study reports for updated reviews more efficiently than conventional information retrieval methods.

Since 2018, the EPPI Centre has been developing OpenAlex Browser – a suite of tools, hosted in EPPI-Reviewer software*, designed to support research and development on use of OpenAlex with automation tools for efficient study identification when (continuously) updating (living) systematic reviews, (living) maps, databases or registers of research, or other evidence syntheses.

This webinar will provide participants with an introduction to OpenAlex and the latest OpenAlex Browser tools. Associate Professor Shemilt will also present findings from the ongoing programme of methods research, which is evaluating the performance of these tools in a range of use scenarios covering health care, public health, education and other social sciences topic areas.

* EPPI-Reviewer is available free to Campbell (and Cochrane) authors for use to support production of Campbell (and Cochrane) reviews and related activities/outputs (e.g. Campbell evidence and gap maps). 

Event Organiser Details
Name Carrie Hall Administration, Campbell UK and Ireland