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Workshop research and information skills GEO1-2208 (Innovation Systems): 4A: journal articles


Time estimate: 20 minutes

  1. Have a look at the tips on the right.
  2. Using smart combinations of your search terms find two relevant articles using Scopus and write down the bibliographic details or import the records into Zotero.
  3. Taking the two articles you just found as a starting point use Scopus to find two more using the references of the citations (cited by) of these articles; export to Zotero or save the full PDFs of these articles.
  4. Search for two relevant articles using Google Scholar and export to Zotero.
  5. For one of the articles found in Google Scholar scan the list of citing articles (cited by ...).

Searching for articles

Together with books, scientific articles are the most important publication form in science. The most important search engines for articles are:

All search engines have their strong and weak points and each discipline has its own set of best search engines. Your search will be more efficient and your search results will be more complete if you take the trouble to get to know them. When exploring the coverage and opties of search engines use the system's help files but also tutorials and LibGuides available on the web or on our LibGuides homepage.

Another good way to find articles is by following the literature references and citations from and to earlier found articles.

In the LibGuide Search Strategy UBU LibGuide artikelen zoeken you will find more information.

Scopus: multidisciplinary search for articles and book chapters, with citation data

ScopusScopus is a large search engine containing some 50 million scientific journal articles and conference proceedings. Its most important features are:

  • Multidisciplinarity: all disciplines are present, although arts and humanities still somewhat lagging
  • Contains almost exclusively material in the English language
  • Containing extensive citation information from articles (complete from 1996 onwards, but also many from older years)
  • Containing also data of (chapters of) ten of thousands of books
  • In Scopus many journals are indexed from the very first volume (sometimes even before 1900)
  • Scopus cooperates quite well with RefWorks and both offer options for integration when you have an indivual Scopus account within the UU license
  • The default order of the search results list is chronological, but you can also sort by relevance
  • All sources searched with Scopus are peer reviewed
  • search engine for patents is included

Scopus has an excellent coverage for the medical and natural sciences, technics and geosciences. Also the social sciences are well represented. Humanities is less well covered, but we are still talking about millons of articles, absolutely speaking.

Scopus offers very good options to follow the network of citations between articles.

In the special LibGuide Scopus UBU LibGuide Scopus you will find detailed information about all the possiblilites and bonuses of Scopus.

Google Scholar: fast and with full text search

Google Scholar is a large search engine for scholarly publications. It searches primarily journal articles and, contrary to almost all other search engines, searches the full text. From Google Books the data of a large number of scientific books are included in Google Scholar. Also in this respect Google Scholar differs from classical scientific search engines such as Scopus or Web of Science.

Google Scholar's special features listed:

  • you search articles as well as (a selection of) books
  • your search is full text, so you will also find sources in which your search terms are only touched upon
  • Google Scholar does not tell you what publications are included and what publications are not: you will have to find out by trial and error
  • the journal selection is less strict than in Web of Science or Scopus: as a result you will also find non-peer reviewed material
  • the order of results is also based on the number of received citations: that is why more recent publications are harder to find; always use the menu to filter on recent years!
  • if you want to have links to Refworks you must choose this as your Bibliography Manager in the preferences
  • only if you access Google Scholar via the Utrecht University Library website you will be shown the UBUlink next to the titles

In the special Google Scholar LibGuide UBU LibGuide Google Scholar you will find all you want to know about successfully using this remarkable search engine