General Resources for Graduate Students in the Physical Sciences and Engineering

This page is intended as a guide for a variety of general resources to support graduate students in the physical sciences and engineering.  For specific OSU Libraries resources, please use the following links:

Chemistry and Biochemistry | Physics and Astronomy | Engineering (multidisciplinary)

For answers to questions about OSU Graduate School visit OSU Graduate School.

Article Express (through ILLiad)

Article Express icon

   (through ILLiad) Request free electronic delivery of journal articles not available through OSU Libraries' subscriptions.

Easy off-campus access

Remove the hassles associated with off-campus access to OSU library resources by installing a bookmarklet in your browser.

OSU Libraries Research Commons

The Research Commons, located on the 3rd floor of the 18th Avenue Library, is a popular location for  research workshops and presentations.  Its study space and meeting rooms are reserved for faculty, postdocs and graduate students.

Managing your Research Impact

Research Impact deals with a variety of metrics such as citations, social media presence, and the visibility of your research.  Learn how to establish and maintain a strong research impact for your work by visiting the OSU Libraries Research Impact site:

Federal Agency Public Access Plans

The U. of Wisconsin's Ebling Library provides up-to-date, user-friendly information on Federal Agency Public Access Compliance (arising from US OSTP Memo of February 2013 which requires open access publishing of research funded by US Gov agencies).

Library Questions about Physical Sciences and Engineering?

18th Avenue Library photo

Engineering and Physical Sciences:

General Questions: Ask Us Email

General Questions: 614-292-8463

18th Ave Library, Phone: 614-292-0211

Recommend a Purchase

Off-Campus Access to library resources

Use Google Scholar with care

Unlike when you were in high school or an undergraduate, people who read your scientific article will most likely actually read at least some of the articles cited in your bibliography.  The quality of your research is no stronger than the quality of the articles you use to support it.  If you are supporting a statement with a citation you found in Google Scholar, remember that Google Scholar searches through basically all "academic" journals.  However academic journals are not created equally.  Roughly 50% of journals defined as "academic" are actually predatory journals that contain essentially worthless articles.  There is a lot of money to be made by publishing a predatory journal and those publishers do a great job of making their journal and their articles look legitimate. 

If, however, you use a database that individually selects which journals' content it provides, you will greatly improve your chances of finding higher quality articles.

Therefore, if you choose to use Google Scholar, ensure that any article you choose to cite is from a reputable lab and a reputable journal (because, if you found it on Google Scholar, you've got an ~50/50 chance that the article you found is from a predatory or exceptionally low quality journal).

Pros and Cons of Open Access Publishing

Overall, the pros of Open Access publishing outweigh the cons, however, there are several factors to consider when choosing whether to publish your article open access.

  • Open Access will ensure that the largest possible audience will have access to your hard-earned research.
  • Open Access promotes the dissemination of scientific information and, therefore, enhances scientific knowledge.
  • Many publishers will charge a fee for Open Access publishing, however, if your research was funded by a US Government grant, all publications resulting from the research must be made available via Open Access (without fee) within an ~12-month period.  Most publishers make the article freely available at their site after a certain number of months.  Additionally, all US Government agencies host a site where the articles can be freely viewed (see the Federal Agency Public Access Plans box at the bottom left of this page). 
  • There are many high quality Open Access publishers who justifiably charge a reasonable fee for Open Access, and who also require that your article undergo a rigorous peer review.  Beware of predatory Open Access publishers who essentially use Open Access fees to support predatory, poor quality journals with a sham, non-existent, or exceptionally poor quality peer review process. 
  • If you maintain the copyright to your work, you can post it online.  If you sign over the copyright to the publisher, you might or might not be able to post it online.  Remember ... Copyright and Open Access are two different things.  Open Access means anyone can view a piece of work; Copyright deals with the ability of others to re-use a piece of work.

For more on Open Access, visit OSU Libraries' Open Access page


Plagiarism is common (both intentional and unintentional). indicates that all of the following are considered plagiarism:

  • turning in someone else's work as your own
  • copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit
  • failing to put a quotation in quotation marks
  • giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation
  • changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit
  • copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not (see our section on "fair use" rules)                       []

Publishers, universities, researchers, etc. often use software such as iThenticate and Turnitin to check for plagiarism.

For more information on plagiarism, visit OSU Libraries Plagiarism page.

How to Write a Good Scientific Paper

How to Write a Good Scientific Paper

Scientific writing has a unique style,  This excellent e-book provides valuable and easy-to-understand information about the various components of a scientific paper.  (Made freely available by SPIE.)

Hint: When you open the page, click on "SHOW ALL CHAPTER OUTLINES" and then scan down the page to find the desired section.  The entire book is a quick-read and the individual sections are exceptionally short and helpful.

Bibliographic Software

Learning how to use bibliographic software is a "must do" item for a scientific writer.  Each of the following are free and have online tutorials.

  Zotero (Tutorials) More on Zotero, including how to expand your storage.

 Endnote (free version)  (A more robust version of Endnote is available for purchase through OSU's Tech Hub)

Make the time to master one of the above.  You won't regret it.

Making a Scientific Poster?

Making a Scientific Presentation?

Professor Betty Lise Anderson of OSU's Electrical and Computer Engineering has put together a fantastic presentation entitled "Secrets to a Terrific Technical Talk."  Check it out!

Do you have an ORCiD Identifier?

If you are publishing articles, you should have an ORCiD Identifier.

orcid icon   More on ORCiD

LabArchives e-Lab Notebook

Labarchives icon  OSU holds a site license for LabArchives electronic lab notebooks, available to all faculty, staff and students.
Instruction Material for LabArchives

Dissertation Guidelines