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Tips for using databases

Use a high quality research database instead of Google or Google Scholar.  High quality databases choose the journals they search and avoid low quality journals.  We spend lots of money on these databases because they are worth it!

Appropriate databases for your subject can be found by following the links listed to the right.  Both on- and off-campus access are available to these subscription-only databases.

When searching within a database, try a variety of search terms and combinations of search terms.

After obtaining the results of a search, use the refiners listed to the left of the results to filter your results even further.

When searching for academic articles, in addition to avoiding Google and Google Scholar, also avoid free commercial databases such as Science Direct and Wiley Online.  These databases limit their results to one publisher only.  You want to view articles from a variety of high quality publishers!

Put the library to work for you!

The OSU Libraries spend millions of dollars each year for the vast resources we provide to support high level research.  In fact, we have so many resources that they can often be difficult to find!  The links listed below will take you to library pages that are easy to navigate and are specially designed for your area of interest. Additionally, the contacts listed below will be happy to consult with you virtually to discuss choosing search terms, appropriate databases and more!

18L Library

18th Avenue Library, Science and Engineering Library

Resources for Engineering
Resources for Chemistry/Biochemistry
Resources for Astronomy/Physics
Contact:  Belinda Hurley (hurley.50@osu.edu)

Resources for Math and Statistics
Contact: Danny Dotson (dotson.77@osu.edu)

Thompson Library

Resources for Education
Contact:  Kapil Vasudev (vasudev.6@osu.edu)

Resources for Consumer Sciences
Contact:  Tracey Overbey (overbey.13@osu.edu)

Resources for Business
Contact:  Ash Faulkner (faulkner.172@osu.edu)

Resources for Linguistics
Contact:  Jennifer Schnabel(schnabel.23@osu.edu)

Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Library

Resources for Horticulture and Crop Science
Contact:  Florian Diekmann/Columbus Campus (diekmann.4@osu.edu) or Gwen Short/Wooster Campus (short.67@osu.edu)

Resources for Animal Science
Contact:  Jessica Page (page.84@osu.edu)

Biological Sciences/Pharmacy Library

Resources for Pharmacy
Contact:  Amanda Rinehart (rinehart.64@osu.edu)

Architecture Library

Resources for Landscape Architecture
Contact:  Tina Franks (franks.157@osu.edu)

   

Health Sciences Library

Resources for Dentistry
Contact:  Anna Biszaha (biszaha.2@osu.edu)

Ask a Librarian (Health Sciences)

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).

Easy off-campus access

If you install the Bookmarklet in your browser, you'll have easy off-campus access to library resources with one simple click.  Instructions for installing the Bookmarklet.

Tips for Graduate Students

General resources for graduate students (copyright, scientific writing, etc.) can be found at the General Resources for Graduate Students in the Physical Sciences and Engineering. Although this page is focused on science and engineering, most of the content is applicable for all disciplines.

Article Express (through ILLiad)

Article Express

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

Do you have an ORCiD Identifier?

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

   More on ORCiD