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I have an idea for a scientific/engineering paper

  1. Jul 2, 2007 #1
    And I'd like to write it and do the work on my own. It's a project that would probably take me a few months.
    I'm wondering :
    What are the best places to check to make sure noone has done anything like it? Article searches I mean. I currently do not have access to the search engines that are not free. I will in about two months; I'll have a school's access. (though my login may work already, i'll have to try). But my government access has expired.

    Should I let my university know?
    I'm working on my PhD, and have some time over the next two months (no reasearch at school yet). I feel that if I let them know, they may want me to work with their department (which is fine) but they may push for an advisor in that department/school of physics (materials science/modeling/simulation). And I do NOT really want to do all of my PhD research/thesis/specialty in materials science or computer based simulation. (though this paper would be about that).

    Its hard to describe without giving it completely away. But lets say that I have read enough papers in the field, though only a few years into it, to have not come across anythign like it. Its something that while working on my undergrad thesis would have answered a lot of my questions, and it seems everyone in the field takes it for granted, without knowing why.

    So thats the field : Computer Physical Modeling and Simualtion.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 2, 2007 #2


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    Do you not have a PhD supervisor? If not, why don't you go and chat to someone who researches in that area? He'll be able to let you know whether something's already been written on your topic, and point you to suitable journals to search through, especially if you don't wish to discuss the topic online. I'm sure your school won't force you to write your PhD thesis in this area, regardless of whether you write a paper in it, especially if you don't want to.
  4. Jul 2, 2007 #3
    My school doesn't let you pick/assign an advisor until after your first year. (First year is all TA work, no research). Unfortunately, due to my past experience in the field, I think I'm ahead of them in this department; theres noone there I could really talk to about it that wouldn't just say "Yeah thats a great idea, why don't you work on that!". They don't really do the same type of reasearch I was doing.
    Luckily this research reqires little funding other than my free time (hours of programming).

    My main problem is I no longer have the resources I was used to (Library at Sandia, access to basically any article database) and now, cheap as I am, I don't want to have to buy subscriptions everywhere to search.
  5. Jul 2, 2007 #4


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    You must have a library at the university you're at now though from which you can view all major journals. If your department doesn't specialise in the area that you want to write your paper then, firstly, I can't see them making you do your PhD research in this area! Secondly, why don't you email someone at your old university for advice, since they must have specialised in this if you did undergrad work in it.
  6. Jul 2, 2007 #5


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    You should find that most journals will let you search and read abstracts for free though you'll need a paid subscription to read the articles.

    If you are a student at a university then go speak to the research librarians in your school library. It is their job to help students and faculty do such searches. Even if you are not at a university, if your college is in the university system of your state then check with your school's librarians, they should be able to get you help from other university libraries in your state if not help you directly.

    [ps.] Even if you can't directly access journals from your current school there should be some sort of inter-library sharing. Again talk to someone at your library.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2007
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