The dataset includes search queries that can be used to identify scientific publications related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We propose a new approach to mitigate the polysemy of terms as much as possible by targeting the most relevant subject areas for each SDG. In addition, we also used a text-mining tool to identify as many relevant phrases as possible. Publications identified through this process cannot be considered as evidence of the commitment of authors and their institutions to actions towards the targets established by the UN. However, they can be an accurate indicator of which research is relevant to the issues addressed by the SDGs, whether or not it is a direct contribution.