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Journals and scientific articles searching

Universal Library    by fravia+
Updated: March 2009

Journals searching
Theses & dissertations searching
Big search engines' ad hoc scholar searchmasks
Et ab hic et ab hoc
University level FREE open courses


In publishing, the term journal means a scientific journal or literary periodical devoted to a specific subject.

Due to licensing restrictions, remote access to many journals is limited to students and staff of various study institutes and universities.
So check the passwords, webbits, stalking, luring and proxies sections to learn some useful techniques to access such content.

This said, there is a very interesting, and growing, 'pressure' that those almost useless blogs are applying on today's web: since no one cares to pay, or even simply to wait, in order to enter a newspaper's archive or a journal's database, blogs (and the web at large) are -automatically- more and more linking ONLY to databases that are always accessible, and I mean accessible without strings attached.
At the same time, since the importance of 'deep links for search engines' visibility is growing more and more, only idiots that want to disappear into irrelevance will insist in keeping their own archives (often the only interesting thing they have) inaccessible or barred behind a locked entrance. Transparent archives mean publicity, blocked archives mean irrelevance. See the newsfeeds section for more examples of this matter of fact.

Journals and scientific articles searching

"The contradictions of journals' searching"

Now, let's imagine that for our in-depth "private investigations" we need a given COMPLETE ARTICLE, not an abstract, a complete text, and we do not want to pay anyone for that. Let's imagine we want something mathematic related, I haven chosen as examples ["polynomial"] and ["prime factorization"]

Most searchers would use the two most "common" search engines for MATHEMATIC-RELATED articles of the visible web: http://www.emis.de/ZMATH/, which you can use to start a search and http://www.ams.org/mathscinet/search which you SHOULD NOT use, due to its commercial crappiness
Let's search for "polynomial" red 
Let's imagine we are interested in the third result: "The minimum period of the Ehrhart quasi-polynomial of a rational polytope", alas! Now we would be supposed "to pay" in order to consult/see/download it.
But we'r seekers, right?
Let's use a part of the abstract in order to fetch our target in extenso: " called the Ehrhart quasi-polynomial of"... see? Let's repeat this with any other article on this database... red 

Of course we could also have used google scholar
or Microsoft's Windows Live Academic (painfully slow). For the big search engines' scholar searches, see below.

So, we have seen how to bypass commercial yokes using the previously explained "long string searching" approach.

The funny thing is that the web is so deep that we do not need at all to go through such bazaars.

In fact the "open source" waves are already purifying the closed world of the scientific journals as well. Good riddance!

Let's search on The Front (arxiv.org), that is slowly beating the two "established" euroamerican commercial repositories black and blue... for instance: "prime factorization", but, to keep our previous example, also: "The minimum period of the Ehrhart"... et voilà.
On one side the Americans, who do not even let you search if you do not pay up-front (US-mathscinet) & on the other one the Europeans, who let you search, but then want you to pay in order to fetch your results (EU-ZMATH). Of course we could still find our targets starting from there, but it is refreshing to know that there is also -amazingly coexisting on the same web- a complete 'journals' search engine, with a better (& rapidly growing) database and everything you need for free: the Front ("It freed anyone from the need to be in Princeton, Heidelberg or Paris in order to do frontier research"). So -once again- the web is BOTH a bottomless cornucopia and an immense commercial garbage damp, and -of course- you need to know how to search both sides of the same mirror.

Theses & dissertations searching

ETDs (Electronic Theses and Dissertations) are a valuable resource IF TAKEN CUM GRANO SALIS: as anyone knowing his evaluation lore knows, often theses are just the mirror of the lazyness and hubris of mediocre professors. So: "caveat querens!"
Here a short list of "starting angles", a simple search will give you more.

A very good theses search engine is DART-Europe, here for instance "rhetoric":
"DART-Europe is a partnership of research libraries and library consortia who are working together to improve global access to European research theses. DART-Europe is endorsed by LIBER (Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche) as part of the work of the LIBER Access Division, and it is the European Working Group of the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD)."
Click on the "identifier" link in order to search for the fulltext of a thesis.

Not so good, but still usable is the MIT-theses search engine:
and click on "MIT Theses"

There's a database by the "Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations" which follows -alas- a restrictive (and obsolete) model of proprietary information: this makes it often next to useless.
However, there are still many "unrestricted" theses here.

Finally, keep in mind that there are also many local theses search engines. Here as an example the canadian one:
The educated seeker should know how to find the most relevant local engines for his specific query.

Big search engines' ad hoc scholar searchmasks   

Google scholar, example search string: http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&lr=&q=%22prime+factorization%22&btnG=Search
And its useful &scoring=r Concept tracker :-)

"Stand on the shoulders of giants" 
Advanced Google Scholar SearchAdvanced Search Tips | About Google Scholar
Find articles with all of the words
 with the exact phrase
 with at least one of the words
 without the words
 where my words occur
Author Return articles written by 
  e.g., "PJ Hayes" or McCarthy 
Publication Return articles published in 
  e.g., J Biol Chem or Nature 
Date Return articles published between 
  e.g., 1996 
Subject Areas Return articles in all subject areas.

Return only articles in the following subject areas:

Biology, Life Sciences, and Environmental Science
Business, Administration, Finance, and Economics
Chemistry and Materials Science
Engineering, Computer Science, and Mathematics
Medicine, Pharmacology, and Veterinary Science
Physics, Astronomy, and Planetary Science
Social Sciences, Arts, and Humanities

or Microsoft's Windows Live Academic (painfully slow).
Journals  (red means you'll need some proxy/password gimmick)


The Front (arxiv.org): Computer Science, Mathematics, Nonlinear Sciences, Physics, Quantitative Biology. The BEST.

http://www.emis.de/ZMATH/: commercial crap, but you can use it to start a search

http://www.ams.org/mathscinet/search: commercial crap, do not use

Single e-journals

http://www.nla.gov.au/ajol/: Australian Journals OnLine (AJOL) (Australian National Library)

http://www.lib.umich.edu/ejournals/: University of Michigan, Electronic Journals & Newspapers List

redhttp://www.lib.cuhk.edu.hk/electronic/jol.htm: Links to e-journals subscribed by CUHK Library and some free journals. You'll need a 'library card number' and a password.

redhttp://www.jstor.org/: Jstor (you'll need to masquerade as a US or UK "Participating Institution" using a proxy)

http://medworld.stanford.edu/research_journals.html: MedWorld, Biomedical and Clinical Journals On-line ("the most comprehensive listing of medical journals on the internet")

http://www.hg.org/journals.html: Legal and Law Related Journals

http://content.nejm.org/contents-by-date.0.shtml: COMPLETE, full text archive (from 1993) of the New England Journal of Medicine (Massachusetts Medical Society). Abstracts only for the period 1975 - 1992

New England Journal of Medicine (Massachusetts Medical Society)

Please put exact phrases in quotes
Search Term(s):   
Search In:  Title and Abstract Full Text    
Sort By:  Date Relevance       

From through

Original Articles Special Reports
Special Articles Videos in Clinical Medicine
Clinical Practice Images in Clinical Medicine
Review Articles Case Records of the MGH
Perspectives/Editorials Clinical Problem-Solving
Sounding Board Legal Issues in Medicine
Clinical Implications of Basic Research Correspondence
Health Policy Reports Book Reviews

http://www.oxfordjournals.org/oxfordopen/: COMPLETE, full text archive of all Oxford "Openaccess" journals.
(Evaluation warning: this approach is mostly used by "nobodies" that just fake academical deep-knowledge out of thin air. But since even academical established "someones" often enough just fake deep-knowledge themselves, you would be hard pressed to notice any difference in quality whatsoever)

Here a first list:
Alcohol and Alcoholism, American Literary History, Annals of Botany, Annals of Occupational Hygiene, Behavioral Ecology, Bioinformatics, BJA: British Journal of Anaesthesia, Biostatistics, Brain, Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention , Carcinogenesis Cerebral Cortex, Chemical Senses, European Journal of Orthodontics, European Journal of Public Health, European Sociological Review, Family Practice, Forestry, Glycobiology, Health Education Research, Health Promotion International, Human Molecular Genetics, Human Reproduction Human Reproduction Update, Integrative and Comparative Biology, International Journal of Epidemiology, Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, Journal of Design History, Journal of Economic Geography Journal of Financial Econometrics, Journal of Petrology, Journal of Plankton Research, Journal of Refugee Studies, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI), Medical Law Review, Molecular Biology and Evolution, Molecular Human Reproduction, Mutagenesis, Occupational Medicine Quarterly Journal of Mathematics, QJM: An International Journal of Medicine, Protein Engineering, Design and Selection (PEDS), Rheumatology,

A "hybrid" model of knowledge spreading.

An example among the many quarterly above: http://heapro.oxfordjournals.org/searchall/
"Health Promotion International responds to the move for a new public health throughout the world and supports the development of action outlined in the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion. The quarterly journal is is an Official Journal of the International Union for Health Promotion and Education, and is published in association with the World Health Organization. It contains refereed original articles, reviews and debate articles on major themes and innovations from various sectors including education, health services, employment, government, the media, industry, environmental agencies and community networks. The journal provides a unique focal point for articles of high quality that describe not only theories and concepts, research projects and policy formulation, but also planned and spontaneous activities, organizational change, social and environmental development."

Et ab hic et ab hoc (more journals)

(Note that this part of searchlores overlaps with the older section journals in 'local resources'

Directory of Open Access Journals
http://www.doaj.org/: Directory of Open Access Journals. This service covers free, full text, quality controlled scientific and scholarly journals. We aim to cover all subjects and languages. There are now 2209 journals in the directory. Currently 604 journals are searchable at article level. As of today 95820 articles are included in the DOAJ service.

http://arxiv.org/ (The Front)
http://arxiv.org/: Open access to 365,819 e-prints in Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science and Quantitative Biology

Amazon browser (mod. entry: 05.2006)

Amazon browser "A tool for browsing the mass of literature, music and film contained in the Amazon database, by exploring links between related items"

Touchgraph style tool

Internet library for librarians (mod. entry: 05.2006)

http://www.itcompany.com/inforetriever/: Internet library for librarians,
"A Portal Designed for Librarians to Locate Internet Resources Related to Their Profession", very americanocentric.

CUI: Computer Science Library (mod. entry: 05.2006)

CUI: Computer Science Library: (Centre Universitaire d'Informatique, Uni Genève),
"This database lists all the publications in the CUI's Computer Science library."

http://www.unige.ch/search/welcome.php: WWW.UNIGE.CH, search mask
ressSelectionMaths.html: ressources thématiques en MATHÉMATIQUES
Cybertheses (!)
http://atoz.ebsco.com/Home.asp?id=4390: Répertoire des périodiques électroniques (with open access reviews)

University level FREE open courses

Can we really find on the web FREE University level open courses for anyone?
Of courses :-)

And of course you must be quite careful and evaluate a lot.
You'll in fact have to peruse among the many (often bogus) "universities" offers, frequently polluted by pseudo scientific commercial crap, aimed to scrap your money and delivering in exchange ludicrous (and often slightly embarrassing) diplomas, but you'll also find some worthy knowledge nuggets (a couple of examples below).
Real free university courses (or internal university-level curses published fully on the web, can deliver real knowledge to anyone with a web connection, wherever he might be.
Of course this is not always completely disinterested, the "celebrity" fall out and back feed for the institutions and professors involved is thousand times bigger as the relatively modest costs involved (the sums, while considerable, are peanuts for big universities)

As usual, on the web: caveat emptor (et gaudet fur :-)

The approach should be the following:
  1. Choose a matter you are really interested in and you really like and enjoy (never study "in order to get a job", that's just wasting your life)
  2. Find out who are the best ad hoc professors on the planet and read what they wrote/did/do/write (beware the huge difference between people that are good and people that are said to be good).
  3. Find out which are the fundamental books on the matter, fetch them on the web (they most probably are all there for free anyway, nowadays)
  4. Read, study, read and improve. Always doubt what you learn, always evaluate thoroughly and always study even more. Don't think that you can really learn anything without some YEARS of study.
  5. Write, contribute, choose a subject you'r really utterly interested in and discover how easy it is to improve the matter and to spread knowledge, especially of you'r not working alone and if you are in touch with other like-minded specialists
Fetching a diplom in any university after such iter (and such work) will be quite easy... should a paper diploma really be needed: after all "non scholae sed vitae discimus", as ole Seneca (Note 1) was NOT saying :-)

Here some examples that seem solid and worth recommending

IT's OCW | Harward's CS | OU's OpenLearn | Berkeley |

MIT's (Massachusset Institute of Technology) OCW

http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/web/home/home/index.htm: entrance to MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW)
http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/web/courses/archived/index.htm: archived courses
http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/web/courses/new/index.htm: new courses

Since 8 years on the web, OCW now delivers more than 30 courses with complete video lectures
By liberating the course content the Massachusset Institute of Technology (where my friend Richard Stallman wrote emacs, you can read the fascinating story here) did indeed set the standard for education around the world: "MIT's commits to improve education globally through the free and open sharing of knowledge. And the promise of OCW continues to grow: we will enhance the Highlights for High School content, add more video courses, and expand our course content with new and updated course materials"

Harward's Computer Science (suggested by Kane)

http://cs50.tv/: Computer Science 50: Introduction to Computer Science I Harvard College
Computer Science 50: Introduction to Computer Science I is a first course in computer science at Harvard College for concentrators and non-concentrators alike. More than just teach you how to program, this course teaches you how to think more methodically and how to solve problems more effectively. As such, its lessons are applicable well beyond the boundaries of computer science itself. That the course does teach you how to program, though, is perhaps its most empowering return. With this skill comes the ability to solve real-world problems in ways and at speeds beyond the abilities of most humans.

Try for instance Problem Set 4: Forensics (Hacker Edition)

The open university (suggested by Kane: "less mericanocentric")

http://openlearn.open.ac.uk: Open learn, english and less americanocentric
The OpenLearn website gives free access to Open University course materials. This is the LearningSpace, where you'll find hundreds of free study units, each with a discussion forum. Study independently at your own pace or join a group and use the free learning tools to work with others.

...powered by a number of software tools released under the GNU GPL

There's even a course on web-searching (kinda :-): Finding information in information technology and computing


http://webcast.berkeley.edu/courses.php: Berkeley's webcast
Some interesting choices here

There's a berkeley "youtube collection" as well: http://www.youtube.com/ucberkeley, where you can even slurp some (fairly banal) stuff about search engines

Some further useful links

http://www.ocwconsortium.org/members/consortium-members.html: The Opencourseware (OCW) Consortium.



Petit image

(c) 3rd Millennium: [fravia+], all rights reserved

Lately, many of our more industrious and investigative readers have taken it upon themselves to supply our searchlores offices with documents which purport to complete and/or further illuminate many a lore. We send our thanks to the readers who provided hints and material; like-minded souls are encouraged to send further discoveries and suggestions to the address of the responsible of this site, that you'll find listed elsewhere.

 ! Notes

Note 1
In fact he said the exact contrary (stating a fact, and even criticizing it, not approving it).
Seneca, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, Libri XVII-XVIII Epistula CVI, §12:
Apertior res est sapere, immo simplicior: paucis est ad mentem bonam uti litteris, sed nos ut cetera in supervacuum diffundimus, ita philosophiam ipsam. Quemadmodum omnium rerum, sic litterarum quoque intemperantia laboramus: non vitae sed scholae discimus. Vale.
The context is therefore important: here a nice french translation:
"La sagesse est plus accessible, elle est surtout plus simple: avec peu de science on y arrive. Mais, habitués que nous sommes à prodiguer sans fruit tout le reste, nous faison de même par la philosophie. Nous portons partout, et jusque dans la science, l'interpérance qui nous travaille: nous étudions, non pour la vie réelle, mais pour l'école."
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