Get single entities

Get a single entity, based on an ID

This is a more detailed guide to single entities in OpenAlex. If you're just getting started, check out get a single work.

It's easy to get a singleton entity object from from the API:/<entity_name>/<entity_id>. Here's an example:

That will return a Work object, describing everything OpenAlex knows about the work with that ID. You can use IDs other than OpenAlex IDs, and you can also format the IDs in different ways. Read below to learn more.

You can make up to 50 of these queries at once by requesting a list of entities and filtering on IDs using OR syntax.

To get a single entity, you need a single unambiguous identifier, like an ORCID or an OpenAlex ID. If you've got an ambiguous identifier (like an author's name), you'll want to search instead.

The OpenAlex ID

The OpenAlex ID is the primary key for all entities. It's a URL shaped like this:<OpenAlex_key>. Here's a real-world example:

The OpenAlex Key

The OpenAlex ID has two parts. The first part is the Base; it's always The second part is the Key; it's the unique primary key that identifies a given resource in our database.

The key starts with a letter; that letter tells you what kind of entity you've got: W(ork), A(uthor), S(ource), I(nstitution), C(oncept), P(ublisher), or F(under). The IDs are not case-sensitive, so w2741809807 is just as valid as W2741809807. So in the example above, the Key is W2741809807, and the W at the front tells us that this is a Work.

Because OpenAlex was launched as a replacement for Microsoft Academic Graph (MAG), OpenAlex IDs are designed to be backwards-compatible with MAG IDs, where they exist. To find the MAG ID, just take the first letter off the front of the unique part of the ID (so in the example above, the MAG ID is 2741809807). Of course this won't yield anything useful for entities that don't have a MAG ID.

Merged Entity IDs

At times we need to merge two Entities, effectively deleting one of them. This usually happens when we discover two Entities that represent the same real-world entity - for example, two Authors that are really the same person.

If you request an Entity using its OpenAlex ID, and that Entity has been merged into another Entity, you will be redirected to the Entity it has been merged into. For example, has been merged into, so in the API the former will redirect to the latter:

$ curl -i

Most clients will handle this transparently; you'll get the data for author A5006060960 without knowing the redirect even happened. If you have stored Entity ID lists and do notice the redirect, you might as well replace the merged-away ID to skip the redirect next time.

Supported IDs

For each entity type, you can retrieve the entity using by any of the external IDs we support--not just the native OpenAlex IDs. So for example:

This works with DOIs, ISSNs, ORCIDs, and lots of other fact, you can use any ID listed in an entity's ids property, as listed below:

ID formats

Most of the external IDs OpenAlex supports are canonically expressed as URLs...for example, the canonical form of a DOI always starts with You can always use these URL-style IDs in the entity endpoints. Examples:

For simplicity and clarity, you may also want to express those IDs in a simpler, URN-style format, and that's supported as well; you just write the namespace of the ID, followed by the ID itself. Here are the same examples from above, but in the namespace:id format:

Finally, if you're using an OpenAlex ID, you can be even more succinct, and just use the Key part of the ID all by itself, the part that looks like w1234567:

Canonical External IDs

Every entity has an OpenAlex ID. Most entities also have IDs in other systems, too. There are hundreds of different ID systems, but we've selected a single external ID system for each entity to provide the Canonical External ID--this is the ID in the system that's been most fully adopted by the community, and is most frequently used in the wild. We support other external IDs as well, but the canonical ones get a privileged spot in the API and dataset.

These are the Canonical External IDs:

Dehydrated entity objects

The full entity objects can get pretty unwieldy, especially when you're embedding a list of them in another object (for instance, a list of Concepts in a Work). For these cases, all the entities except Works have a dehydrated version. This is a stripped-down representation of the entity that carries only its most essential properties. These properties are documented individually on their respective entity pages.


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