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CHEM 4160: Research in Chemistry I - CTW: Using Web of Science

Using Web of Science

When should I use Web of Science?

Web of Science is a great database for finding chemistry and general science papers. You can also try PubMed if you're looking for medical papers or SciFinder-n and Reaxys if you're looking for papers on certain substances or reactions.

However, Web of Science content only extends back to 1985, so it's not the best choice if you are looking for older papers.

How do I get started? 

You'll usually want to start by searching for a Topic, which the first search box is set to do. Web of Science will automatically include simple synonyms like plurals. If you're looking for recent papers, set the timespan to "Latest 5 years" or specify a date range; you can also do this 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 and see 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 or range of years
  • 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 a lot of 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.