Searching the science literature in 2023
January 24, 2023 9:07 AM   Subscribe

I recently discovered and it made me realize I'm probably out of touch with what's available in terms of science literature research search engines. My list of search engines is below the fold – does anyone know of others?

This is my go-to list of general science search engines (meaning, not specific to topics like medicine, for which there are others like PubMed not listed here): (I have no association with any of these, I'm not advertising for any of them, and my singling out Connected Papers does represent an endorsement.)
posted by StrawberryPie to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
SciHub is my go-to site for getting full-text papers.
posted by alex1965 at 9:09 AM on January 24 [3 favorites]

I don't know if your bio is out of date, but if you still work at an R1, I'm really wondering what you are hoping to find online on the open web that you won't find in your library's databases. Your university library pays hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for you to search for and access scientific research. I don't know which university you're at, but I suspect they have Web of Science or Scopus, and maybe both. Those are great general science search engines, and your library will have it set up to so you can click through to get the relevant articles in full text, or they'll likely have some way of requesting articles if they don't subscribe to the journal.

The path is likely something like...
Your campus library website > List of databases > Alphabetical listing where you can look for Scopus or Web of Science

They might also have a subject guide or resource guide to help you find these resources. If you're not familiar with the databases, use your library's Reference Services (sometimes called Ask a Librarian or Ask Us or Research Help) to get help navigating them. Each has a visual search or a feature to help you use one paper to find related papers.

Also, the librarians at your library would be the best to answer folks to answer what's available to you that's not on the open web.

Now, if you're not still at the R1, then my suggestion is to visit an R1 or large research university, as most will let folks not affiliated use a computer and access databases at the campus library. Your local public may also have some good resources (some large publics have quite extensive resources).

Finally, unpaywall is a browser extension you might find useful on the open web.
posted by bluedaisy at 9:20 AM on January 24 [7 favorites]

I have institutional access to most anything I need and I still usually prefer sci hub, and always promote it for people who lack paid subscription access.

CiteseerX is one public/open database/search engine you've not mentioned, but personally I find that my choice of search terms, old-fashioned reference following, and discussions with peers are all more important than the search engine/database I'm using, ymmv.
posted by SaltySalticid at 9:24 AM on January 24 [4 favorites]

Also, the librarians at your library would be the best to answer folks to answer what's available to you that's not on the open web.

If you are asking for reasons related to your job, this is the correct answer.
posted by avocet at 10:29 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]

However, to answer your question, I will add
posted by avocet at 10:36 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]

Couple of mentions of SciHub already, but IIUC this is not a question about how to access the PDFs without an institutional affiliation, so SciHub is probably not the answer.

I think this question is asking for search engines that allow you to search for academic papers (by keyword, author, date, journal, citation connections, etc.).

In my (former) field ADS was the answer.

arXiv also has a pretty good search interface these days, although coverage is restricted to fields in which it's customary to submit to the arXiv, i.e. CS, physical sciences, mathematics, some other bits of science, but not humanities or medicine. (arXiv is also an answer to the question about how to access the PDFs without an affiliation.)
posted by caek at 11:14 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I'm sorry this wasn't more clear: my question is not about getting copies of papers or books, which personally I can do very easily (although other readers of this question may not be so lucky, so it's worth mentioning the options). My question is about finding which papers are relevant to a topic when doing deep research.

For additional context: I'm an experienced researcher who actually works for my institution's library. We have access to a lot of databases. Despite this, I feel that some of the recent systems offer ways of exploring the literature that old academic standbys like WOS don't. I'm trying to find out about other systems that people have found useful, both for myself, for my library colleagues, and for other people who read this question in the near future. So, I hope we can refocus on answering that question.

Examples of useful on-topic things mentioned so far: (new to me, and not listed in our library's own list of resources), and arXiv's advanced search (which I haven't looked at recently – I just always used the search box …)
posted by StrawberryPie at 11:59 AM on January 24 [3 favorites] is what I used most frequently when at uni (though I feel like this is probably included in the academic standby pile, hah).
posted by BeeJiddy at 6:01 PM on January 24

I have heard good things about Scite.

“scite is an award-winning platform for discovering and evaluating scientific articles via Smart Citations. Smart Citations allow users to see how a publication has been cited by providing the context of the citation and a classification describing whether it provides supporting or contrasting evidence for the cited claim.”
posted by forkisbetter at 8:59 PM on January 24

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