Here is a list of the terms that have special meanings within the DSL and its documentation, most of which are taken from the larger Dimensions ecosystem.


A type of non-work record of special interest.

Differs from a source insofar as it does not have textual data to be searched, but instead only stores metadata about the object it represents.

Examples: funder, research org., category, country, etc.

See Supported data for a comprehensive list of supported entities.


Entities can only be considered in the context of the source with which they are associated, and cannot be queried independently from that source. For example, we can retrieve funders of publications, or funders of research grants, but we can’t search through the set of all funders generally.


A type of named field on a source record which can be used for faceting, i.e. aggregation of a certain indicator over the result set returned (with aggregations being calculated after any filters have been applied and scoring by search terms similarity has been computed).

Examples of facets for grants: funders, research_orgs, active_year

A facet may correspond to an entity, i.e. a record, as is the case with e.g. the funders facet. Alternatively, a facet may correspond simply to a literal value, as is the case with the active_year facet.


Not every field on a source can be used as a facet; see the fields tables for each source on the Supported data page to know whether or not a given field may be used as a facet.


A property of a record, corresponding to a piece of information about the work or entity which that record represents. Loosely corresponds to the notion of a column if the record is considered as a database row.

Examples: id, title, year, date

May appear in the fields specification of a “return” phrase, or in the “sort by” phrase.

See the Supported data page for a comprehensive lists of fields available for each source and entity.


A named group of fields for a given source or entity.

Examples: extras, basics

May appear in the fields specification of a “return” phrase.

See the Supported data page for a comprehensive lists of fields available for each source and entity.

Function Expression

Type of query useful for performing non-search requests. It allows calling functions with arguments. Arguments can be either named or not-named. Named arguments must come last and any non-named arguments must come first, in the proper order.

See Query syntax for the language specification. See DSL Functions for use-cases and examples.


A named numeric value which can be used for aggregating works over a facet of a given source, or for sorting aggregation results.

Examples: count, funding (sum of USD funding amounts), rcr_avg, altmetric_median


The DSL does not permit arbitrary aggregations; aggregation can only be performed using a indicator from the pre-defined set for each source, as listed on the Supported data page.


A complete expression in the DSL query language, which corresponds to a request for Dimensions data.

Example: search grants about "HIV" return funders

See Example queries and results for more examples of valid queries, and Query syntax for a detailed reference of query component phrases.


An entry (document).

May correspond to a scientific work, i.e. a source instance, or to an entity instance.

Search terms

A string containing keywords for ranking work relevance. Appears in the “for” phrase of a DSL query.

Examples: "malaria", "malaria in Africa"

Full data
Specifier to perform full text search on all data.
Title Abstract only
Specifier to perform search only in fields: title and abstract.
Title only
Specifier to perform search only in fields: title only.

A type of scientific work. A member of the closed set of ÜberResearch source cores

See Supported data for a comprehensive list of supported sources.


A short piece of text data, which begins and ends with double quotes (").

Examples: "malaria", "Universität des Saarlandes"

May appear in various phrases of a query, such as


As the double quote character (") is used to indicate the start and end of a string, if the string’s text itself contains this character, it must be escaped with a preceding backslash (\).

For example:

"a so-called \"superbug\" virus" is a valid string, but

"a so-called "superbug" virus" is not a valid string (it would be interpreted by the parser as the string "a so-called ", the unknown name superbug, and the string " virus", resulting in an error).


A special type of record representing a scientific work of interest, i.e. an instance of a source.

Contains some type of written text which can be searched for the given search terms; this differentiates it from an entity.

In addition to text, also contains metadata about the work. Each facet of the work is represented via a certain field, and various additional data is stored in other fields.