Skip to content


Switch branches/tags

Name already in use

A tag already exists with the provided branch name. Many Git commands accept both tag and branch names, so creating this branch may cause unexpected behavior. Are you sure you want to create this branch?

Latest commit


Failed to load latest commit information.


SPECTER: Document-level Representation Learning using Citation-informed Transformers

SPECTER | Pretrained models | Training your own model | SciDocs | Public API | Paper | Citing

This repository contains code, link to pretrained models, instructions to use SPECTER and link to the SciDocs evaluation framework.

***** New Jan 2021: HuggingFace models *****

Specter is now accessible through HuggingFace's transformers library.

Thanks to @zhipenghoustat for providing the Huggingface training scripts and the checkpoint.

See below:

How to use the pretrained model

1- Through Huggingface Transformers Library

Requirement: pip install --upgrade transformers==4.2

from transformers import AutoTokenizer, AutoModel

# load model and tokenizer
tokenizer = AutoTokenizer.from_pretrained('allenai/specter')
model = AutoModel.from_pretrained('allenai/specter')

papers = [{'title': 'BERT', 'abstract': 'We introduce a new language representation model called BERT'},
          {'title': 'Attention is all you need', 'abstract': ' The dominant sequence transduction models are based on complex recurrent or convolutional neural networks'}]

# concatenate title and abstract
title_abs = [d['title'] + tokenizer.sep_token + (d.get('abstract') or '') for d in papers]
# preprocess the input
inputs = tokenizer(title_abs, padding=True, truncation=True, return_tensors="pt", max_length=512)
result = model(**inputs)
# take the first token in the batch as the embedding
embeddings = result.last_hidden_state[:, 0, :]

A sample script to run the model in batch mode on a dataset of papers is provided under scripts/

How to use:

CUDA_VISIBLE_DEVICES=0 python scripts/ \
--data-path path/to/paper-metadata.json \
--output path/to/write/output.json \
--batch-size 8

** Note that huggingface model yields slightly higher average results than those reported in the paper. To reproduce our exact numbers use our original implementation see reproducing results.

Expected SciDocs results from the huggingface model:

mag-f1 mesh-f1 co-view-map co-view-ndcg co-read-map co-read-ndcg cite-map cite-ndcg cocite-map cocite-ndcg recomm-ndcg recomm-P@1 Avg
79.4 87.7 83.4 91.4 85.1 92.7 92.0 96.6 88.0 94.7 54.6 20.9 80.5

2- Through this repo

Errata for paper: In the paper we mentioned that we take the representation corresponding to the [CLS] token as the aggregate representation of the sequence. However, in the AllenNLP v0.9 implementation of BERT embedder, each token representation is a scalar mix of all layer representations. To get aggregate representation of the input in a single vector, average pooling is used. Therefore, the original SPECTER model uses scalar mixing of layers and average pooling to embed a given document as opposed to taking the final layer represenation of the [CLS] token. The Huggingface model above uses final layer represnation of [CLS]. In practice this doesn't impact the results and both models perform comparably.

1 - Clone the repo and download the pretrained model and supporting files:


Download the tar file at: download [833 MiB]
The compressed archive includes a model.tar.gz file which is the pretrained model as well as supporting files that are inside a data/ directory.

Here are the commands to run:

git clone

cd specter


tar -xzvf archive.tar.gz 

2 - Install the environment:

conda create --name specter python=3.7 setuptools  

conda activate specter  

# if you don't have gpus, remove cudatoolkit argument
conda install pytorch cudatoolkit=10.1 -c pytorch   

pip install -r requirements.txt  

python install

3 - Embed papers or documents using SPECTER

Specter requires two main files as input to embed the document. A text file with ids of the documents you want to embed and a json metadata file consisting of the title and abstract information. Sample files are provided in the data/ directory to get you started. Input data format is according to:

metadata.json format:

    'doc_id': {'title': 'representation learning of scientific documents',
               'abstract': 'we propose a new model for representing abstracts'},

To use SPECTER to embed your data use the following command:

python scripts/ \
--ids data/sample.ids --metadata data/sample-metadata.json \
--model ./model.tar.gz \
--output-file output.jsonl \
--vocab-dir data/vocab/ \
--batch-size 16 \
--cuda-device -1

Change --cuda-device to 0 or your specified GPU if you want faster inference.
The model will run inference on the provided input and writes the output to --output-file directory (in the above example output.jsonl ).
This is a jsonlines file where each line is a key, value pair consisting the id of the embedded document and its specter representation.

Public API

A collection of public APIs for retrieving pre-computed Specter embeddings for papers in the Semantic Scholar corpus is available at:, and an API for embedding a given paper title and abstract using Specter is available at: allenai/paper-embedding-public-apis

NOTE: Embeddings that are retrieved from the public APIs will not match the embeddings that can be generated by running the model on this repo. They are produced by two different versions of the SPECTER model. Although embeddings from the two different sets cannot be mixed and matched within the same task, the sets perform similarly on downstream tasks.

How to reproduce our results

In order to reproduce our results please refer to the SciDocs repo where we provide the embeddings for the evaluation tasks and instructions on how to run the benchmark to get the results.

Advanced: Training your own model

First follow steps 1 and 2 from the Pretrained models section to download the supporting files and install the environment.

Next you need to create pickled training instances using the specter/data_utils/ script and then use the resulting files as input to the scripts/ script.

You will need the following files:

  • data.json containing the document ids and their relationship.
  • metadata.json containing mapping of document ids to textual fiels (e.g., title, abstract)
  • train.txt,val.txt, test.txt containing document ids corresponding to train/val/test sets (one doc id per line).

The data.json file should have the following structure (a nested dict):

{"docid1" : {  "docid11": {"count": 1}, 
               "docid12": {"count": 5},
               "docid13": {"count": 1}, ....
"docid2":   {  "docid21": {"count": 1}, ....

Where docids are ids of documents in your data and count is a measure of importance of the relationship between two documents. In our dataset we used citations as indicator of relationship where count=5 means direct citation while count=1 refers to a citation of a citation.

The script processes this structure with a triplet sampler that selects both easy and hard negatives (as described in the paper) according the count value in the above structure. For example papers with count=5 are considered positive candidates, papers with count=1 considered hard negatives and other papers that are not cited are easy negatives. You can control the number of hard negatives by setting --ratio_hard_negatives argument in the script.

  • Create preprocessed training files:
python specter/data_utils/ \
--data-dir data/training \
--metadata data/training/metadata.json \
--outdir data/preprocessed/

After preprocessing the data you will have three pickled files containing training instannces as well as a metrics.json showing number of examples in each set. Use the following script to start training the model:

  • Run the training script
./scripts/ -c experiment_configs/simple.jsonnet \
-s model-output/ --num-epochs 2 --batch-size 4 \
--train-path data/preprocessed/data-train.p --dev-path data/preprocessed/data-val.p \
--num-train-instances 55 --cuda-device -1

In this example: The model's checkpoint and logs will be stored in model-output/ .
Note that you need to set the correct --num-train-instances for your dataset. This number is stored in metrics.json file output from the preprocessing step. You can monitor the training progress using tensorboard:
tensorboard --logdir model-output/ --bind_all

SciDocs benchmark

SciDocs evaluation framework consists of a suite of evaluation tasks designed for document-level tasks.

Link to SciDocs:


Please cite the SPECTER paper as:

  title={{SPECTER: Document-level Representation Learning using Citation-informed Transformers}},
  author={Arman Cohan and Sergey Feldman and Iz Beltagy and Doug Downey and Daniel S. Weld},


SPECTER: Document-level Representation Learning using Citation-informed Transformers







No releases published


No packages published