Frequently Asked Questions

Please browse our frequently asked questions. If you can’t find what you are looking for, please contact us using the form at the bottom of this page.

Questions about content

Q: What content can I access from is primarily a database of open-licensed metadata (bibliographic data and links) about research documents, organisations, and other materials about international development.
Q: How can I use content from
The methods and tools for using content depend of who you are and the skills you have. We have developed some tools and services to provide a number of different points of access.

Anyone can access the content through an Open API (a simple technology that acts as an “access key”). You can then use a range of simple tools that we have developed, or develop your own tools, to present any of the content on your own websites and tailor it to your own audiences and contexts. We aim to develop tools which also “expose” or export content from existing systems to contribute to We also plan to add content to a Linked Open Data platform, to make the content available on the Semantic Web.

Q: What are the benefits of using content from
By using content from, you know that you will be getting relevant, timely and well documented research about development. The content is continuously added and updated and, in most cases, once set up, content can automatically flow from to your site or application without you having to spend technical or editorial time to make this happen.
Q: Is the content free of copyright?

In most cases, research document “full text” files are freely accessible online (although authors/publishers retain the copyright for the documents). The metadata (the bibliographic information about the document) is generally available to be re-used for free under a creative commons license (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License).

Q: Can I download documents, like PDFs, directly from contains bibliographic information about research documents, the actual “full text” PDFs are stored online (usually) by the publisher on their own websites or repositories. content simply points to where the document is available online. All research items should contain a field which contains the URL of the location of the “full text” document.

Q: How do I know if has the content I want? has many thousands of research documents collected from all over the world on a wide range of topics. It is likely that there will be some content that you will find useful. Why not have a look at our Content Explorer, where you can filter and search on all content. This will give you a good idea of the scope of the content that has.

Q: How often is the content updated?

Contributors are adding content to on a regular basis as new research outputs and knowledge products are published and added to the contributors datasets.

Q: How can I flag up inappropriate content that I have found in

All contributors are selected based on their suitability to the project objectives and quality of work, so this shouldn’t be a problem, but if you spot anything that you feel should not be included in, please contact us straight away and we will investigate as soon as possible.

Questions about registering to use the API

Q: Where do I register for an API key?

To register for an API key to access Hub content programmatically, then visit our registration page.

Q: Why do I have to register?

Being registered enables to provide you with information on any changes to the API, service and content that might affect your application or website.

The registration process, along with the use of API keys, also allows to protect the service from security risks such as denial of service attacks.

Q: I have lost my password and cannot access my account.

No problem, simply fill in our forgotten password form to reset it.

Questions about using the API

Q: How do I use the API?

Before you can do anything with the API you will have to be authorised to use API. First you will have to register for an API key. The system will send you an email with a link you need to follow to validate this registration, and then you need to fill in your profile, including agreeing to the Terms and Conditions that cover usage of the API. API uses a RESTful style and a resource-oriented architecture. Calls are made via HTTP requests (currently only the GET method is available). Your request URIs should be patterned after the examples in the API Explorer, and you should always include your API key in a query string.

Q: What methods are available in the API?

The documentation for the API; calls, methods etc. are available in our API Explorer.

Q: Can I post content to via the API?

Currently this feature is not available. If you wanted to submit content to, then please contact us.

Q: Where can I get support about using the API?

Initially we are not providing a support forum, but we can be contacted via the Support contact form on this page or any of the other contact forms on this site. You can also submit issues with any of our plugins via our Github page.

Q: Where do I post a feature request or enhancement to the API?

We would love to hear that any ideas you have about improving the API. Contact us here.

Q: Which fields are returned by the API?

Documentation of the fields in the API can be found here

Q: Is there any rate limit on API calls?

In order to balance server loads, we allow users to make a limited number of calls to the API in a given hour and return a subset of the full field list. The API does account-based rate limiting (per API Key).

Usage tiers are as follows:

User Maximum call rate Maximum number of items per call
General User 150 calls/hour 2000
Offline Application User 300 calls/hour 2000
Partner 300 calls/hour 2000

If you want to get a higher level of access, please contact us –

Q: What content can I access from
Q: Which sources are included in

You can filter by sources in our Content Explorer, and a list of our content providers can be found here.

Questions about using a plugin

Q: Where can I get technical support about using the plugins?

Initially we are not providing a support forum, but we can be contacted via the Support contact form on this page or any of the other contact forms on this site. You can also submit issues with any of our plugins via our Github page.

Q: Where do I post a feature request or enhancement to the plugins?

You can also submit feature requests for any of our plugins via our Github page.

Questions about developing an application or contributing to our codebase

Q: I have a great idea for an application that uses content?

Brilliant! We would love to hear about it. Please contact us with details of your work.

Q: I think I can make the plugin/API better. Can I fork the code or should I submit code to you for incorporating in the main branch?

We would love to hear your ideas, so please get in touch. Initially fork the code in Github and document any changes you have made. It would be great to talk to you!

Questions about contributing content to

Q: My organisation has lots of relevant documents that it would like to add to How do I add content to

We are currently working on a publicly accessible admin interface for where you would be able to register your organisation as a content providers, submit content and then amend your content in While we develop this, please contact us here if you have content that you want to contribute.

Q: Do you have a standard format for contributing data to

Rather than prescribe a particular data model, standard or process, we are defining a set of technical minimum requirements for supplying content to We have taken this approach because we want to maintain a flexible hub model that can handle content from a wide range of sources with a wide range of data quality.

(The minimum requirement will be title (of the item), the metadata URL (the unique URL for the metadata of this item) and URL (location of the item on the internet) if available – in some cases, such as Organisation items, the URL of the organisation would not be required for example)


Last updated: 1 October 2014

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