Research tools

ArXiv

If your research involves Physics, Math, or Computer Science, you probably don’t need to be told about the awesomeness that is Arxiv (pronounced like the word “Archive”). This is simply the place to go to find the latest research.

BibMe

BibMe is a free automatic citation creator that supports MLA, APA, Chicago, and Turabian formatting. BibMe leverages external databases to quickly fill citation information for you. BibMe will then format the citation information and compile a bibliography according to the guidelines of the style manuals. If you prefer, you can enter your citation information manually. BibMe also features a citation guide that provides students with the style manuals’ guidelines for citing references.

Microsoft Academic Search

Another great source for research, particularly in computer science, is Microsoft Academic Search. This relatively new product from Microsoft is a database of scholarly content allowing search across a large number of scientific societies, publishers, and other institutions.

Google Scholar

It’s like Google, but for academic papers. You all probably use it already. One interesting fact you may not know is that Google doesn’t have an authoritative list of sites that supply academic content to search.

BASE (Bielefeld Academic Search Engine)

This is a great alternative to the frustrating paywall-laden experience you may run into with other search engines. BASE does use a authoritative list of sites from which to select content, focusing on open access content, so you can be sure that you’ll be able to download and read the results of your search.

Mendeley

The easiest thing for many of you reading this would be to just search Mendeley’s catalog. Not only can you search across disciplines, but you can also limit your results to only open access content, and add any result to your library with one click. It doesn’t get any easier than that, and searching Mendeley’s catalog provides a few unique advantages too. We incorporate the social data from the aggregated readership of all of the academics using Mendeley into the search algorithm, so that the results we return are more likely to be widely-read and important papers than if you were to do a simple keyword search of another catalog. You can also find popular groups and tags related to a paper, which could reveal a whole collection of research already created around the topic you’re searching.

PubMed Central

Pubmed Central is a post-print repository for the Life Sciences. All research publications resulting from work funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Heath is supposed to be deposited here, but as it’s a voluntary process, some publishers have been a little slow to cooperate. All the papers in Pubmed Central are free to access, but most of it remains under copyright by the publisher, limiting extensive use of the content, such as for text-mining. Material in Pubmed Central is also carefully curated, with new sources having to meet specific scientific and technical standards for inclusion.

Science.gov

Science.gov is a search interface across 12 US federal research agencies, including the NIH and NSF, and has a few neat features. One thing I like about it is how it pulls the information about the types of results that have been returned and creates filters from them – a technique called “faceted search”, which many of you have seen on websites like Amazon.com and Ebay.

Scirus

Scirus isn’t a research catalog, but rather a science-focused general search engine. That said, it has an impressive list of scientific publishing sources that it indexes, including Pubmed, Arxiv.org, Lexis-Nexis and more. It’s good for when you’re you’re looking for information about scientific topics that either might not be indexed by the journal specific sites (like vendor pages) or if you just prefer the interface. Scirus is fast and has some nice advanced search search features to help you narrow down your search.

Citefast

Citefast is a free service that allows students and professionals to properly create, organize and manage citations.