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What is the best physics database?

  • #1

Main Question or Discussion Point

Is there a place I can go to look up physics research papers using keywords? Say you are a student working on a thesis how do you know a person in India has not worked on the same subject and written the same thing?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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Is there a place I can go to look up physics research papers using keywords? Say you are a student working on a thesis how do you know a person in India has not worked on the same subject and written the same thing?
I always start with scholar.google.com. If I don't find good results there (and usually I do), I check through EBSCO or another database available through a university library. The only physics-specific databases I check would be the ones associated with different journals published through societies like APS or IEEE.
 
  • #3
I always start with scholar.google.com. If I don't find good results there (and usually I do), I check through EBSCO or another database available through a university library. The only physics-specific databases I check would be the ones associated with different journals published through societies like APS or IEEE.
Ok thanks. However then the thing is that you have to have the wording you search correlate with the wording of the matching paper if it even exists. Do you know what I mean? I find copyright now globally to be a big issue because of the huge population. Perhaps an artificial intelligence database could be invented.
 
  • #4
Choppy
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What you really need to do is conduct a literature review. That involves a lot more than simply typing some key words into a search engine and skimming through the results. To start with, it involves reading and learning enough about the field in question that you know what search terms to use, what journals to pay attention to (they're not all created equal), what authors to watch, and generally getting a feel for what people are working on.

As a student this can be incredibly difficult, which is why it's important to find a good mentor or supervisor with experience in the field who can point you in the right direction. A good supervisor will know when a project is "low hanging fruit" or something that other groups are working on. He or she should also have a good idea of what's been done before. And when it comes to something like a PhD thesis, it's not just a single person, but you have a whole committee of people who will review your project before you put a lot of work into it. Ideally, most projects can also be set up to be broken into smaller projects. So if it turns out part of it is published by another group, you have other directions to take the project in.

If you're just talking about an undergraduate thesis, then you don't have the same threshold for novelty that a PhD thesis would have. In fact sometimes these kinds of projects can be all about reproducing someone else's results, because that can be used as a springboard for something else.

When it comes to "copyright" I think the issue you're concerned about is plagiarism, not necessarily novelty of the work. So long as you do your own independent work and then write it up you can submit that (talk to your supervisor for details). Plagiarism would be a situation where you're passing off someone else's work as your own.
 
  • #5
ZapperZ
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Ok thanks. However then the thing is that you have to have the wording you search correlate with the wording of the matching paper if it even exists. Do you know what I mean? I find copyright now globally to be a big issue because of the huge population. Perhaps an artificial intelligence database could be invented.
I am puzzled by this. How is

Is there a place I can go to look up physics research papers using keywords?
connect to

I find copyright now globally to be a big issue because of the huge population.
??

Why would there even be an issue on copyright if all you are doing now is seeking literature sources?

Coming back to the question brought up in the first post, this is why a lot of new, graduate students often spend a lot of time doing literature search, and why haven't a well-known and well-informed supervisor is important. This is because the latter should be up-to-date on the state of knowledge of a particular area of study, and should know if something similar has been done and can often refer his/her students to the sources.

Google Scholar has been mentioned, and that is always where *I* start. But it doesn't replace a well-connected person who is an expert in the field that you are researching.

Zz.
 
  • #6
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it doesn't replace a well-connected person who is an expert in the field that you are researching.
There really isn't a good substitute for a well-connected mentor. But for the truly lost/stuck/desperate, there are also research librarians who specialize in specific fields (e.g. social sciences, physical sciences, economics, etc.). If I am looking for a particular result or published data set, I occasionally give them the parameters and ask them to look. They don't usually find what I need, but sometimes they get close enough that I can get going in the right direction. The more specific the request, the better they can do.
 
  • #7
ZapperZ
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There really isn't a good substitute for a well-connected mentor. But for the truly lost/stuck/desperate, there are also research librarians who specialize in specific fields (e.g. social sciences, physical sciences, economics, etc.). If I am looking for a particular result or published data set, I occasionally give them the parameters and ask them to look. They don't usually find what I need, but sometimes they get close enough that I can get going in the right direction. The more specific the request, the better they can do.
But if you dare to ask a research librarian, then why can't you also find the courage to ask your research supervisor/mentor?

Zz.
 
  • #8
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But if you dare to ask a research librarian, then why can't you also find the courage to ask your research supervisor/mentor?

Zz.
Unfortunately, sometimes the research librarians are easier to work with. They also tend to stay in the same country over summer break, and respond to emails within 48 hours.

Sorry if that sounds a little salty, but first hand experience is talking.:smile:
 
  • #9
The same way Watson can read medical books is what we would like to see in terms of examining similar research in a given field. So say your write something then you can put into the search engine and the computer could scan all the literature in the database and find correlations if they exist.
 
  • #10
I am puzzled by this. How is



connect to



??

Why would there even be an issue on copyright if all you are doing now is seeking literature sources?

Coming back to the question brought up in the first post, this is why a lot of new, graduate students often spend a lot of time doing literature search, and why haven't a well-known and well-informed supervisor is important. This is because the latter should be up-to-date on the state of knowledge of a particular area of study, and should know if something similar has been done and can often refer his/her students to the sources.

Google Scholar has been mentioned, and that is always where *I* start. But it doesn't replace a well-connected person who is an expert in the field that you are researching.

Zz.
I am talking about like say your write something where something similar was already written in another country for example. So it is not a good scientific or philosophical work if it already has been produced. I think the example I used with Watson is what essentially will happen. It would use artificial intelligence and patter recognition.
 
  • #11
ZapperZ
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The same way Watson can read medical books is what we would like to see in terms of examining similar research in a given field. So say your write something then you can put into the search engine and the computer could scan all the literature in the database and find correlations if they exist.
OK, now you lost me. What "correlations"?

Physics papers are usually published under categories and with various keywords. There are already "correlations". And the fact that papers cite other papers means that there are already strong correlations with similar, like-minded papers that are highly relevant to the topic.

The answer to your original question is already a "yes". So what exactly is all this?

Zz.
 
  • #12
ZapperZ
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I am talking about like say your write something where something similar was already written in another country for example. So it is not a good scientific or philosophical work if it already has been produced. I think the example I used with Watson is what essentially will happen. It would use artificial intelligence and patter recognition.
You need to get over your obsession with things published in another country. In academic research, this is IRRELEVANT. Do you think that if you do a search on the Physical Review journal site, your country of origin makes a difference in the results that you get? Do you think Google Scholar cares?

Besides, if you are writing this for academic publication, either you already know HOW and WHERE to do a search on what has been published, or you have a supervisor who SHOULD know such things.

Zz.
 
  • #13
OK, now you lost me. What "correlations"?

Physics papers are usually published under categories and with various keywords. There are already "correlations". And the fact that papers cite other papers means that there are already strong correlations with similar, like-minded papers that are highly relevant to the topic.

The answer to your original question is already a "yes". So what exactly is all this?

Zz.
Well for example take philosophy. Say if you are writing on neuroscience and are using logic, how do you know that the given logic hasn't been used before by another writer? If similar logic was used by a writer in say China then the computer could find the correlation which is the writing in China.
 
  • #14
ZapperZ
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Well for example take philosophy. Say if you are writing on neuroscience and are using logic, how do you know that the given logic hasn't been used before by another writer? If similar logic was used by a writer in say China then the computer could find the correlation which is the writing in China.
First of all, you need to be very clear on this: they do write things in English in China! If you are shock by this, you need to get over this very quickly. Secondly, if you are referring to papers written in another language other than English, then you need to be very clear that this is what you mean, rather than keep picking upon papers written in specific geography. The Japanese Journal of Physics, published in Japan, can be found in English and very much searchable in English as well!

Finally, learn about citation indexes! Papers that are written not in English will also leave a "trail" of citations, either papers it referred to, or papers referring to it! Even Google Scholar gives you not only the result of your search, but also the papers citing each of those results! It can't be any easier! Many of us old timers used to have to drag ourselves to the library and go through card catalogs and indexes to find the things we were search for. You have it at your fingertips.

Zz.
 
  • #15
First of all, you need to be very clear on this: they do write things in English in China! If you are shock by this, you need to get over this very quickly. Secondly, if you are referring to papers written in another language other than English, then you need to be very clear that this is what you mean, rather than keep picking upon papers written in specific geography. The Japanese Journal of Physics, published in Japan, can be found in English and very much searchable in English as well!

Finally, learn about citation indexes! Papers that are written not in English will also leave a "trail" of citations, either papers it referred to, or papers referring to it! Even Google Scholar gives you not only the result of your search, but also the papers citing each of those results! It can't be any easier! Many of us old timers used to have to drag ourselves to the library and go through card catalogs and indexes to find the things we were search for. You have it at your fingertips.

Zz.
Oh okay thanks. I don't have a science mentor or professor, I am not in a graduate program. I just have a bachelor's degree. Could I send you my work or is someone you know a good mentor or advisor? I am just having trouble with searching databases.
 
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  • #16
ZapperZ
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Oh okay thanks. I don't have a science mentor or professor, I am not in a graduate program. I just have a bachelor's degree. Could I send you my work or is someone you know a good mentor or advisor? I am just having trouble with searching databases.
You never once indicated that (1) you have used google scholar and (2) if you did, why it was inedequate.

Zz.
 
  • #17
You never once indicated that (1) you have used google scholar and (2) if you did, why it was inedequate.

Zz.
I used Google Scholar and think there is a possibility of a correlation but I have a question on it.
 

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