Resources for Early Career Investigators

Literature Resources | Choosing the Right Journal | Research Impact | Communication in Science | Writing Up Research

Online Literature Resources (no subscription is required)

Europe PMC provides access to life sciences articles, books, patents and clinical guidelines. Repository has 35.8 million abstracts and 5.5 million full-text articles

Digital Commons Network provides open access to multiple repositories of scholarly literature hosted on the Bepress platform. It brings together more than 3 million full-text scholarly articles from 597 universities and colleges worldwide.

OpenDOAR is a quality-assured global directory of academic open access scholarly literature in multiple disciplines. It enables the search and browsing of repositories, based on a range of features, including location and type of material held.

NCBI BookShelf provides free access to books and documents in life sciences and healthcare. It allows you to search books by title, first author/editor, publisher, publication year or type

DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals) provides free access to a community-curated directory of full-text articles from peer-reviewed open access journals

PubMed/Medline offers free access to about 30 million records (mostly abstracts only) of literature in the biomedical and life sciences, with links to external full-text access

ROAR, is a Registry of Open Access Repositories of scholarly literature hosted at the University of Southampton, UK. You can browse the registry by country and year of publication to search for the literature.

PMC offers access to full-text biomedical and life sciences literature at the U.S. National Institutes of Health's National Library of Medicine (NIH NLM)

Cochrane Library provides free access to the Cochrane Database — a collection of high-quality, independent systematic reviews of evidence in healthcare. It includes protocols used in the review process.

Google Scholar: Google Scholar provides a simple way to search for scholarly literature across many disciplines

NUS Medical Library. Free access for staff and students of the National University of Singapore

Choosing the right journal to publish your research

To ensure the results of your research gets published, reaches the right audience and delivers maximum impact, it is important that you choose the right journal to publish your manuscript. It should satisfy certain criteria to maximise chance of getting your article published. For a start, you can ask senior colleagues in the field with experiences in publishing research for a list of reputed journals you can submit your article to. Alongside that, you can search reputed catalogues of international journals for a list of indexed journals that are likely to accept submission of articles from your area of research. Online tools are available to help you choose the right journal for your publication. Check out the following:

Elsevier Journal Finder Search for an Elsevier journal by name or use the Elsevier Journal Finder by entering your abstract to find journals best suited for your research.

Springer Nature Journal Suggester   Enter your abstract or article description to find Springer journals best suited for your research.

Journal/Author Name Estimator (JANE) JANE matches your title, abstract, or keywords to millions of documents in MEDLINE to help determine the best journals for your research.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) Catalog. You can search for journals referenced in the NCBI Databases.

Be aware of increasing numbers of predatory journals that promise quick publication of your research. Think. Check. Submit is an international cross-industry initiative aiming to “educate researchers, promote integrity, and build trust in credible research and publications”.

Consider the recommended checklist at the official website.

The video here shows you how to identify the right journal and avoid predatory journals in 3 simple steps — think, check and submit.

Suggested references:

Clark, J., & Smith, R. (2015). Firm action needed on predatory journals. BMJ. 350:h210.

Shamseer et al. (2017). Potential predatory and legitimate biomedical journals: can you tell the difference? A cross-sectional comparison. BMC Medicine, 15(1), 28

Measuring Research Impact

Research metrics are indices used to measure research performance, both at journal- and author-level. There are several metrics that measure journal or article impact factor. To-date, the Journal Citation Reports (JCR) from Web of Science remains the most popular resource for journal impact data. The well-known JCR metric, the journal impact factor (JIF), measures the frequency with which the average article in a journal has been cited in a particular year or period. JIF measures the impact of a journal, not that of individual articles.

The JIF of a journal is usually provided on the journal’s website. If you wish to know the ranking of journals in your field, you must access the source data, for which you may need a subscription. More about citation analysis here.

Several other metrics have emerged and are gaining recognition as well. Amongst them are:

Tracking Your Own Publication Metrics

Sign up for an ORCID iD to link together all of your works and make them discoverable by others. Your iD is a unique identifier. It makes it easy for others to find your research output.

If you have a Google account, Google Scholar Citations can help you keep track of citations to your published articles. You can check who is citing your publications, visualize citations over time, and compute citation metrics.

Set up your personal Google scholarly profile in few simple steps. Get started by logging in using your Gmail (Google) account. If you do not have an account, create one here.

You can also find your (author) h-index at:

Web of Science  and  Scopus

The SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) is another free journal ranking resource for authors. SJR is derived using an algorithm like the Google PageRank system. It uses journal information contained in the SCOPUS® database.

SJR indicates the average number of weighted citations received in a selected year by the documents published in the journal during the three preceding years.

Publish or Perish is a Hartzing’s software program that uses Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic Search to retrieve and analyze academic citations to obtain statistics on journal and author citation metrics.

SNIP (source normalized impact per paper) by Leiden University’s Centre for Science and Technology Studies measures the average citation impact of the publications of a journal. It is based on the Scopus biblio-graphic database produced by Elsevier, which includes about 20,000 journals.

Unlike Web of Science’s JIF, SNIP only includes citations from selected sources and selected document types, but SNIP is corrected for field differences. Access to SNIP is free.

Google Scholar provides a free journal ranking resource for researchers. Google Scholar Metrics uses the h-index to quantify an individual’s scientific research output. Google Scholar enables authors to track citations to their own articles. It also computes the impact of journals which are ranked by their h5-index and h5-median. Metrics are derived from the last 5 calendar years of a publication's output.

Altmetrics is an alternative measure of the impact of a scholarly work in that it takes into account both the quality and quantity of attention it is receiving through social media, citations, and article downloads.

Suggested Reading:

Dag W. Aksnes, Liv Langfeldt, Paul Wouters. Citations, citation indicators, and research quality: An overview of basic concepts and theories. Sage Open. February 7, 2019.

Wilsdon J. The Metric Tide: Independent Review of the Role of Metrics in Research Assessment and Management. SAGE; 2016 Jan 20. http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781473978782

Mike Thelwall, Tamara Nevill. Could scientists use Altmetric.com scores to predict longer term citation counts? J. Informetrics; Volume 12, Issue 1, February 2018, Pages 237-248. DOI:10.1016/j.joi.2018.01.008

Bornmann, L. (2013). What is societal impact of research and how can it be assessed? A literature survey. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 2013 Feb 1; . 2013 Feb 1;64(2), 217-233. doi:10.1002/asi.22803

Seglen PO. Why the impact factor of journals should not be used for evaluating research. BMJ: British Medical Journal. 1997 Feb 15;314(7079):498.

Higher Education Funding Council for England . (2015). The metric tide: Correlation analysis of REF2014 scores and metrics: Supplementary report II to the independent review of the role of metrics in research assessment and management. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.4929.1363

Kushwanth Koya, Gobinda Chowdhury and Pablo Dorta-González, Metric-based vs peer-reviewed evaluation of a research output: Lesson learnt from UK’s national research assessment exercise, PLOS ONE, 12, 7, (e0179722), (2017).

Hug, S. E., & Braendle, M. P. (2017). The coverage of Microsoft academic: Analyzing the publication output of a university. Scientometrics, 113, 1551–1571.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-017-2535-3.

Priem, D. Taraborelli, P. Groth, C. Neylon (2010), Altmetrics: A manifesto, (v.1.0), 26 October 2010. http://altmetrics.org/manifesto.

Google Scholar to overshadow them all? Comparing the sizes of 12 academic search engines and bibliographic databases. Gusenbauer, M. Scientometrics (2019) 118: 177. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11192-018-2958-5