Access to various journals - how to find them?


Dear all,

just wanted people's view on how it is best to find journals. I have used an Athens account, have had access to Scopus for a short period of time and via the university library.

Has any of you got any good tips regarding which data bases are particularly good and tricks regarding how to find journals?:-)


Hi Rick

I always access journals and databases via my library institution access. My library, to be fair, has a pretty varied selection - ~145,000 electronic journals per the website!

I have given information literacy classes to undergrads and Master's students, so here is what I advise them:

- If you know the name of the journal you are looking for, that's probably the quickest route. Also don't forget that once you access a journal, you can always 'search within this journal' for authors and topics you are interested in.

- Have a look at the publisher websites as a way to source journals you might not be familiar with - Taylor&Francis, SAGE for example.

- I would strongly advise you to scroll down through the list of databases on your library website. People rarely do this and miss new subscriptions as a result. Also it can be useful to search for articles via the database as opposed to a specific journal. You can often pick up interesting things this way.

- If you haven't set up alerts for particular journals I would definately advise you to do this. You can be alerted via email when a new issue is out and the Table of contents can be sent direct to your inbox. This is a really good way of keeping up to date and means you will have 2010/2011 articles in your literature review.

- you may find when you access a journal via the library that it will say something like 'access from 2000 onwards' - I would still ALWAYS have a look for older material. I got an article for somebody the other day from 1974 even though it didn't say there was access that far back available.

- You can also set up alerts via Google scholar. Also don't forget the advanced search options with this - people rarely use this but it can refine your searching. Also if you can't get an article via the databases and electronic journals, I would ALWAYS throw in the title to Google scholar and you just might be lucky. I have sourced articles for people on Google which I couldn't get via my library.

- The directory of open access journals can be worth looking at too - and also the directory of open access repositories might be useful -

- the only other thing I can think of is if you are having trouble getting a paper, try the author's bio on their university website. Sometimes, not often but sometimes, it is up there as a pdf - sweet when that happens!

- Finally, librarians get a bad press! Okay sometimes it's justified, but 'maybe' it's people not using their library, their librarians, the physical libary and the library website to the optimum. My sister is a librarian and I have worked as a library assistant in two universities so perhaps I'm biased?!?! Every subject has a subject librarian and if you feel you are missing something, you are entitield to contact them for an appointment where they can go through the various websites, journals etc in your field. Publishers frequently email the subject librarians with info so they should be up to date. Also, each subject should have a dedicated section on the website where the websites, databases etc are listed together. Called different things in different libraries so 'subject portals', 'subject info' etc are common names.

Finally, finally - have a look if you have time at gateways such as BUBL -, Intute These can be interesting to scan through, you might pick something up.

Hope this is of at least some help



Wow, Ady, I'm impressed!!

You really know a lot regarding this issue. Thanks for that. Especially the issue of the librarian is a good one, I need to speak to my librarian and get him more involved in finding articles. Also thank you for the web sites. I will have a look at these.

Did you use something like Scopus? If so what did you think if it? In comparison to Google Scholar better / worse?

Main frustrating bit of Athens is that usually I can get the abstracts only, while the full article is required to judge whether it may be useful.



I must admit that I don't really use SCOPUS - I have had a look at it but I find it kinda irritating to just get an abstract but nothing else. Our library and research office purchased it together so it must be really expensive so perhaps there is more to it than I give it credit for. However, the whole citation and bibliometrics thing doesn't really interest me. Citations alone are not an automatic guarantee of a quality article, says she who's citation count is zero!

I do like Google scholar although it doesn't really sort the stuff (technical term there!!) that well. Still it's really fast and a fair amount of 'stuff' is available even if you're off campus. I do use the advanced options, particularly the author search and find it useful. On campus I can get a lot more via Google scholar than off campus, even if I click the 'off-campus' button. Maybe it's me though...

I never mentioned meta search engines earlier - such as Dogpile ( Actually there's a full meta search engine list at I don't use them myself as sometimes less is more but you never know, sometimes searching a different way from normal will throw up unexpected results.

Do try your subject librarian, they'd probably be thrilled if a real live student actually showed a bit of interest! ;-)


Hi Ady,


Yeah, citations do not say a lot.

I did not know that Google Scholar worked differently on and off camp. I work, so I am not at the university very often, in fact the place where I did  / do my research is quite a long way from where I live, hence that is useful to do the searches from home.

However, I have e-mailed the librarian already, see what he can do to help me.

How is your research going?