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CHEM 4000 Fundamentals of Chemical Analysis: Using Web of Science

Using Web of Science

When should I use Web of Science?

Web of Science is a great database for finding any chemistry papers, especially if you're citation chasing or looking for interdisciplinary papers. You can also try PubMed if you're looking for medical topics and SciFinder Scholar if you're looking for certain substances or reactions.

How do I get started? 

You'll usually want to start by searching for a Topic, which if the default search box. Web of Science will automatically include simple synonyms including the plural version of a keyword. If you're looking for recent papers, set the timespan to "Latest 5 years" or specify a date range. You can also refine results after you've done your search.

I'm getting too many results. What do I do?

You have several choices:

  • Narrow down your search terms. Searching for "breast cancer" treatment will bring back too many results, while "breast cancer" treatment "stem cell" brings back a much more manageable amount. If you're unsure how to narrow down a topic, look at some of the results you're getting. Pay attention to what specific topics they focus on and what keywords they use.
  • Refine your results. The left-hand toolbar on the search results page has many options for narrowing down your results. Some of the most useful are:
    • Web of Science Categories: narrow your search to specific topics
    • Document Types: limit to only articles, conference proceedings, etc.
    • Research Areas: narrow your search to broad subject areas (chemistry, biology, etc.)
    • Publication Years: limit results to a certain year
  • Sort your results. The sort option is in the right-hand corner, and the default sort is newest publication date to oldest. If you're looking for the most important papers on a topic, try sorting by Times Cited--Highest to Lowest. This will put the most-cited papers (a.k.a. more important papers in the field) at the top of your list.

Citation Chasing

What is Citation Chasing?

Citation chasing is the act of finding references by looking at the references a certain paper has cited or looking at the sources that have cited that paper. Once you've found a paper related to your topic, citation chasing is an easy way to find more papers on that topic (including the most important papers on that topic), the newest papers on the topic, and papers on related topics you may want to explore.

Finding References a Paper has Cited

When viewing a record, select Cited References on the right-hand sidebar:

Cited References: 12

All references from the paper will be listed like results from a search. From here, you can view individual records, save the references to EndNote, etc.

Finding Other Papers Citing a Paper

While looking at search results, look for the Times Cited link above the FindIt@GSU button for each result:

Search results with the Times Cited link underlined.

If you're not seeing many Times Cited results, remember you can sort results by Times Cited--Highest to Lowest. You can also select Times Cited on the right-hand sidebar within a record.