#Finding scientific information: Tools for finding information sources by publication types

Tools by publication types

Scientific journals

Scientific journals are the most important scientific publishing channel because what is published in the journals dictates who gets the credit for the research results. Scientific journals are publishing channels that are controlled by researchers who perform peer quality assurance.

There are many tools available for finding scientific journals in your own discipline. In Oula-Finna it is possible to browse by category the electronic journals that Oulu University Library subscribes to. The University of Oulu also has access to some databases that you have to pay for, such as Journal Citation Reports and Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory, where you can find journals for your own subject area. In addition, one can find several different journal databases on the internet that are free to use, and vary in size. Open access journals can be used freely on the internet, and can be searched in different databases. Some publishers also have subject specific journal directories on their websites.



The electronic journals that the University of Oulu has a subscription to can be found in Oula-Finna. Journals can be searched for according to title or a part of the title, with the ISSN number. From the SFX button, you can find, for example, databases or delivery platforms that enable you access to a journal.

JCR category

Thomson Reuters produces a service called Journal Citation Reports (JCR) which is a database specialised in reviewing journals where you can search for the centrally important and most highly regarded journals within your discipline. The database includes about 12 000 journals, but its coverage varies between disciplines. JCR organises journals in subject categories in such a way that each journal belongs to at least one subject area, but it can belong in several.
In the example, the Mathematics category has been chosen, and the journal specific information has been ranked according to the Impact Factor of each journal.
Source: JCR (Thomson Reuters) <https://jcr.incites.thomsonreuters.com/> 5.7.2017.

Ulrichsweb: Refereed

Ulrichsweb - Global Serials Directory contains information from over 300 000 publications. It categorises publications according to its own Ulrich's Subject Headings classification, which is mostly based on the subject headings of the Library of Congress. You can search for publications according to the subject headings and it is possible to limit e.g. to refereed publications.
Source: Ulrichsweb <https://ulrichsweb.serialssolutions.com/> 5.7.2017.

Genamics Journal Seek

The Genamics JournalSeek database includes information on more than 102 000 scientific journals. The journals are found with the Category Browser, or searched for with the name of the journal or its ISSN number. You can acquire the following information on journals: a description of the contents of the journal, the name of the journal and its abbreviations, the ISSN number, the category and a link to its homepage. You can browse the journals according to discipline.
Source: Genamics JournalSeek <http://journalseek.net/> 5.7.2017


Open access journals can be searched according to subject from the Directory of Open Access Journals service (DOAJ), maintained by the University of Lund. The service includes approximately 2000 peer reviewed open access journals. In the example, a search has been conducted for open access journals in the DOAJ service from the subject Chemistry/Analytical Chemistry. From the DOAJ Content link you can get information on the availability through DOAJ. You can get to the journal itself from the link on the name of the journal.
Source: DOAJ <http://www.doaj.org/> 5.7.2017.

Publishers' websites

Publishers' homepages have journal directories in which journals are listed both alphabetically and according to subject. The sites also have instructions for contributers and price information for subscribers. The journal packages from different publishers that the University of Oulu has access to are to be found in Oula-Finna.

Nature research

From the Nature Publishing Group website you can search for journals that they publish according to discipline.
Source: Nature Publishing Group< http://www.nature.com/npg/> 5.7.2017

Academic books

Academic books give a broad overview of a research topic or area, but do not give equally current or precise information as journal articles. 

You can find books in Oula (University of Oulu library catalogue) and Melinda (Union Catalogue of Finnish Libraries).

Other sources for finding books for your subject are publishers' websites where you can often browse for books by discipline. You can also use large web bookstore databases when searching for books. List of English-language book publishing companies (Wikipedia).

On the Oxford University Press website you can search for books from a directory compiled by discipline.
Source: Oxford University Press <http://www.oup.com/> 9.6.2009.

The Macmillan website has separate pages for books of academic interest, organised according to discipline.
Source: Macmillan <http://us.macmillan.com/splash/academic/index.html > 9.6.2009.

Conference proceedings

Most new research results are often reported for the first time at conferences. Hence conference proceedings are a good source of new information. Conference proceedings are released either before or a few months after the conference including conference presentation articles or summaries. It might be hard to get a hold of conference proceedings and articles, because they are for limited distribution. Quite often, they are only distributed to conference participants, but through this channel it is possible to get them to the university library. Conference proceedings are published in many different ways: as separate publications, in a journal series, or in special editions of journals. Sometimes, only abstracts are published, and the actual article has to be requested from the writer personally. You can often find information on up-coming conferences and recently held ones on the internet in the conference webpages, where there may be information on conference proceedings.

Conference articles can be searched for from databases that specialise in them, such as the COS Conference Papers Index and ISI Proceedings, or reference databases that include conference articles. In addition, conference articles and presentations can be searched for in open access archives and on researchers' own websites.


The Interdok site has information on conferences by discipline.
Source: Interdok <http://www.interdok.com/ > 9.6.2009.

Web of Conferences

The Web of Conferences site contains information on conferences, and you can search for conference proceedings published by EDP Sciences by discipline.
Source: Web Of Conferences <http://www.webofconferences.org/> 6.7.2017.

Patent publications

All technically and economically meaningful solutions have striven to be protected by patents. Patent publications include patent applications and all granted patents. They have detailed descriptions of technical solutions, judicial information on rights, and information on business activity and competition. The majority of this information is never published anywhere else than in patent publications. Patent information is easy to get hold of and it has become a global source of knowledge. Public patent applications and granted patent publications are openly accessible for anyone via the internet from patent authority databases. The most important databases are those of Espacenet and the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Patents can be searched for in the patent databases with words that describe the subject, the name of the applicant (the business, organisation or person), the patent number and the patent classification. The most convenient way to search is by using the patent classification because quite often searching with descriptors does not produce results. For example, in the Espacenet database there are only the titles and a synopsis provided by the applicant, and often the applicants do not want to use particularly revealing terms.

Patent classification is hierarchical and comprise of eight main divisions. These are divided into sections, classes, sub-classes and groups. The classification is represented by numbers and letters. The most widely used classifications are the international patent classification (IPC) which is available at http://www.wipo.int/classifications/ipc/en/ and the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) http://worldwide.espacenet.com/classification. CPC has been used since 2013 and it's going to take the place of IPC and the patent classification of the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), which is available at http://www.uspto.gov/go/classification/.

WIPO IPC classification

An example of the International Patent Classification. Pictured here is Section A, Human Necessities, and the more specific class of Agriculture.
Source: World Intellectual Property Organization <http://web2.wipo.int/classifications/ipc> 6.7.2017.

The most significant databases that contain patent publications are the databases belonging to patent offices. The Espacenet service at http://worldwide.espacenet.com/?locale=en_EP is a service provided by the European Patent Office. It is free of charge, and includes information on over 30 million inventions from different countries, going back in part to as early as the 1920's. Espacenet includes two types of databases: worldwide patent databases, and national databases. In the databases, you can find the English titles, synopses and publications in their entirety, if the patent has been applied for in an English-speaking country. Other office specific databases often only include the past two years, and are in the original languages.

Each patent office also has its own database which contains its own publications. One of the best examples is the USPTO patent database, which includes only US applications and patents, available at http://www.uspto.gov/patft/.

Patent publications are also available in the Finnish National Board of Patents and Registration's own PatInfo database at http://patent.prh.fi/patinfo/. The PatInfo patent registry includes Finnish applications with validity information from the 1960's onwards, patent and utility model data and the weekly catalogue of patent applications.

Espacenet: Example of original patent document

An example of an original document from a patent publication in the Espacenet database.
Source: espacenet  <https://worldwide.espacenet.com> 11.7.2017.

Research reports

Research reports present current research results from research institutes, from state authorities and from business enterprises. You can often access them directly from the web sites of the institutes etc. Links to Finnish university and state research institute websites can be found, for example, from research.fi portal.

GTK: Hakku

The Geology Survey of Finland publishes on the web research reports from its own Research Reports series.
Searching of the publications is possible in Hakku database.
Source: GTK  <http://en.gtk.fi/, https://hakku.gtk.fi/> 6.7.2017.

Luke: publications

Research reports and other publications of the Natural Resources Institute of Finland are published in Luke’s series. Searching of the publications is possible in Jukuri service.
Source: Luke <https://www.luke.fi/en/publications-archive/, http://jukuri.luke.fi/handle/10024/395546> 11.7.2017

Open access repositories

Open access archives are virtual information storerooms for academic articles and other digital material. They are either institutional repositories or discipline-based archives.

Archives offer you many advantages over publishing on your own website; for example, indexing services, availability of your publications through Google Scholar and OAIster, and a permanent URL address which can be used when others cite you. Open access archives may include author pre-print versions, which have not yet been through the peer review process, or author post-print versions, which have been peer reviewed and edited, but still do not, however, resemble a publisher's post-print version in their appearance. Open access archiving requires permission from the publisher in whose journal the article is to be officially published. Most publishers allow archiving. In addition to articles, open access archives include conference proceedings, technical information, dissertations and other electronic material such as pictures and videos.

See also: Open access | Research visibility

Examples of Open Access archives

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is an online directory that indexes and provides access to quality open access, peer-reviewed journals.

Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB). DOAB provides a searchable index to peer-reviewed monographs and edited volumes published under an Open Access business model, with links to the full texts of the publications at the publisher’s website or repository. Launched by OAPEN (= Open Access Publishing in European Networks).

Griffith Research Online is Griffith University's open access archive where, whenever possible, the university's researchers store their parallel publication articles, conference presentations, articles published in books and other publications.


Griffith Research Online is an institution specific open access archive.
Source: Griffith Research Online <https://research-repository.griffith.edu.au> 25.7.2017.

ArXiv.org at http://arxiv.org/ is originally a physics open access archive which has later been widened to include mathematics, computer science, quantitative biology and statistics. Currently, it is maintained by Cornell University with funding from the National Science Foundation. It includes pre-print publications (sometimes also called e-prints). The archive is divided by discipline and has extensive search facilities and RSS feed ordering possibilities.


ArXiv.org is a discipline specific open access archive. The contents can be browsed using a subject search.
Source: < http://arxiv.org/> 25.7.2017.

Tools for searching for open access archives and articles

Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR) at http://roar.eprints.org/ is an open access archive collection that is maintained by the University of Southampton.


The Registry of Open Access Repositories includes open access archives and has extensive search options for searching both the archives and the contents.
Source: ROAR <http://roar.eprints.org/cgi/search/advanced> 25.7.2017

Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR) at http://www.opendoar.org/ is an open access repository collection maintained by the University of Nottingham. It includes selected open access archives that have been quality checked by OpenDOAR.


OpenDOAR includes extensive search and browsing tools which help you search the open access archives and their contents.
Source: OpenDOAR <http://www.opendoar.org/find.php> 25.7.2017.

Ranking Web of World Repositories ranks scientific open access repositories listed in Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR) and The Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR). A directory of repositories included is available at http://repositories.webometrics.info/en. Global visibility and impact of repositories is based on quantitative web indicators as follows:

Size (S). Number of pages recovered from the four largest engines: Google, Yahoo, Live Search and Exalead.
Visibility(V). The total number of unique external links received (inlinks) by a site obtained from Yahoo Search and Exalead.
Rich Files (R). The number of text files in Acrobat format (.pdf) extracted from Google and Yahoo are considered.
Scholar (Sc). Using Google Scholar database the mean of the normalized total number of papers and those (recent papers) published between 2001 and 2008 is calculated.

Top Portals World rank
Top Institutional Repositories World rank

OAIster at http://www.oaister.org/ is a global virtual repository made up of OAI compatible open access archives which can be utilized in the same way as commercial reference or article databases. OAI compatible archives follow a shared protocol and have compatible metadata which enables mutual communication of content.


OAIster is an open access virtual repository which has extensive search facilities.
Source: OAIster < http://www.oclc.org/en/oaister.html> 25.7.2017.

Data Citation Index is a new database produced by Thomson Reuters (a part of the ISI Web of Science portal) which creates indices for open access based, university maintained or discipline specific archive publishing. The archive covers biology, humanities, medicine, physics and social sciences. You can access the abstracts and links to PDF or PostScript whole text documents.

The Data Citation Index has been developed in cooperation with NEC, and it includes CiteSeer qualities, like automatic indexing of citations. The program then seeks, using OAI compatible metadata, full text versions of documents and citations taken from them and adds it on to the document that has been cited. Editors of Thomson Reuters select and evaluate all repositories that will be included in their database in order to maintain a certain standard.