Peer-reviewed biology papers online?

  1. I am taking a first year molecular/cell biology course and the lab reports I write all require references to peer-reviewed and (preferably) up-to-date papers. Does anyone have suggestions for websites where I can find such papers, and 'how' to search for them?

    One problem I'm encountering is that most too specialized for my needs. For example this first report I have to do is on a practical we did involving enzymes from fruits, basically we looked at the effects of pH and temperature on enzyme function. Now in talking about the theory of enzymes in the introduction, it would be easy to reference the prescribed textbook but I'm not allowed to - it has to be directly from published papers.

    Thanks
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Ygggdrasil

    Ygggdrasil 1,717
    Science Advisor

    PubMed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed) is the site most biology researchers use to search through the scientific literature.

    You may also consider seeing if you textbook cites the primary literature as many provide a list of papers for further reading at the ends of their chapters.
     
  4. PubMed will give citations and abstracts for both open-access and pay-walled papers. You can visit http://www.plos.org/ to see some open-access journals only. Try PLoS Biology and PLoS one.
     
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  5. atyy

    atyy 11,047
    Science Advisor

    Some recent papers (those covered by the public access policy of the NIH of the United States of America) on PubMed are available free in their final accepted form, even though the nicely formatted journal version is behind a paywall. These papers appear in PubMed Central within 12 months after their appearance in the journal. When you search PubMed, a link to the free version appears at the top right of the page (not sure if this feature is in the Mobile version).

    Here's an example http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22499176

    As usual, just because it's published doesn't mean it's right, so read the peer-reviewed literature as critically as you would any other.

    Ygggdrasil suggested looking at the references to original papers that are available in some textbooks. PubMed also makes some textbooks available free http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books

    Many journals allow authors to post the final accepted manuscript on their website or other free archive, so googling can often bring those free versions up, even if they are not on PubMed Central.

    You can email (addresses are usually available from the journal's website) the authors of papers for a copy if you need to read a paper that your library privileges don't give you access to. They are not obliged to reply, but in many cases authors will be delighted with a short and courteous email in which you say why you are interested in their paper, eg. for a school project.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2013
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  6. Monique

    Monique 4,699
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    Well, if you require paper citations than PubMed is the way to go. For more general papers you can filter for reviews, but if you are citing a specific example it is always better to cite the original/best study. I never search in a limited set of journals, like JonMoulton suggests. If pay walls are an issue that can not be overcome (in my opinion they always should be overcome), you can filter for free full-texts.

    You should learn how to use the Field Descriptions and Tags:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK3827/#_pubmedhelp_Search_Field_Descrip_
    Useful ones are [ti] or [tiab], to search for keywords in titles or including abstracts only (thus giving more relevant results).
     
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  7. Thanks very much everyone!
     
  8. Don't forget about Google scholar.
     
  9. Monique

    Monique 4,699
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    What advantage does Google scholar have over Pubmed?
     
  10. Pythagorean

    Pythagorean 4,634
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    My experience with pubmed is limited, and I've never reigstered an NCBI account, but here's what I notice with my shallow pubmed experience:

    1) google scholar presents multiple versions, often including free manuscripts marked with [PDF] (so you know it's not just another intermediate paywall).

    2) 'cited by' function right in the search results immediately tells you the impact the article and links you right to the citing articles, making citation tracking fast and easy.

    3) wider scope. this can be an advantage and a disadvantage as it includes non-peer-reviewed resources like books. Not limited to biomedical.

    4) "cite" function automatically gives the article citation to you in your choice of format including bibtex, endnote, etc for us LaTeX users.
     
  11. Monique

    Monique 4,699
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    1) Pubmed as well
    2) not in Pubmed, can be useful, I use Web of Knowledge to track citations
    3) not useful for biomed literature research
    4) PubMed as well

    I'm not convinced :smile:

    Can one use field descriptions and tags in Google Scholar, like in PubMed?
    Search limiting to reviews?
    Display full abstracts?
     
  12. Ygggdrasil

    Ygggdrasil 1,717
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    PubMed displays results chronologically, so the first results are the most recent papers matching your search but not necessarily the most relevant. Google scholar, on the other hand, sorts by relevance so it may do a better job at finding the most relevant articles more quickly. I don't know if I trust the Google Scholar results to be as comprehensive as PubMed, however.

    If you are looking for the most recent papers on a topic, PubMed is probably the tool to use. If you are looking for all of the papers published by a particular author, PubMed is probably the tool to use. However, if you're looking for a set of important papers on a particular topic, maybe here, Google Scholar has an advantage.
     
  13. Monique

    Monique 4,699
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    I find it dangerous when a search engine determines what is the most relevant paper. I rather have a chronological order and know how the research progressed on a topic. I do see how it can be useful for a quick paper find.
     
  14. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    I don't know if or how many of the problems concerning google scholar have been fixed since this report.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1324783/

    I just did a simple search for the same topic and google scholar's most recent paper was from 1996, while PubMed had dozens starting in 2013. Chipotle, since one of the preferences stated is that you use the more current studies, you might want to stick with PubMed.
     
  15. Monique

    Monique 4,699
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    Great find, thanks Evo!
     
  16. Pythagorean

    Pythagorean 4,634
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    how do you get bibtex out of pubmed?
     
  17. Pythagorean

    Pythagorean 4,634
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    also, how do you do 1)?
     
  18. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    For the rare times someone might want it.

    http://www.hubmed.org/
     
  19. Pythagorean

    Pythagorean 4,634
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    I mean in pubmed. The purpose is to have it all in one place when you're doing a literature search (a benefit of Google scholar).

    I always use bibtex for both official manuscripts and school papers.
     
  20. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    But using google scholar severely limits which papers you can even find, making it a rather useless tool except for high school kids, laymen and undergrads that don't really care, IMO.

    You asked what would do bibtex functions for Pubmed so I gave you an option. Professionals use Pubmed for serious research.
     
  21. Pythagorean

    Pythagorean 4,634
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