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B 319 - Theory, Practice, and Discourse in the Life Sciences

Practice Using Web of Science

Use the tips below to practice using the database Web of Science. Open up Web of Science in another tab or browser (click here to open it) and try it out as you walk through this guide.

What is Web of Science?

What's Included in Web of Science?

  • Information about scholarly journal articles from thousands of scholarly journals from both science and social science fields. It also has information about proceedings from conferences, book chapters, and review articles
  • Sometimes you can get to the full-text of the articles, but not always
  • Information about how many times each of the articles have been cited by other articles

When should you use it?

  • When you have a multidisciplinary topic
  • When you are looking for scholarly sources
  • When you want to find links between articles on your topic
  • When you want to learn more about who is providing funding for the kind of research done in your field.

How Do I Use Web of Science?

Start by entering some keywords. Web of Science searches a smaller set of information, so start with a broader search (fewer keywords). The results of your search are displayed in the middle column. Options for refining your search are on the left side. Learn more about refining in the next module (below).

Screenshot of a Web of Science search

Refine a Search

Most databases allow you to refine your search. Web of Science has some refining choices targeted at people interested in doing science. You can see the main funding agencies, countries where the research happens, the top authors and research organizations who work on the articles about your topic - as well as many more choices.

The options for refining your search are shown on the left side of the search results screen. Here's an example of how to refine by review article.

Screenshot of Web of Science refining options

Accessing the Article

To get to articles in Web of Science (and all of the library databases EXCEPT for 1Search), click on the Find it @OSU button below the article title.

Screenshot of the 360 link button

Next, click on the blue publisher's link (in the example below - SAGE Complete). The PDF of the article should then open. Or a page with a link to an article or journal may open. If that happens, click the article or journal link. This will take you to the publisher's website. Look for a "back issues" or "archive" link, and then navigate to the article using the date, volume, issue and page number information given on the "You Are Looking For" page. Once you find the article, look for PDF links to open up the full-text of the article.

Click the journal or article link

If you click on the Find it @ OSU button and get a page saying request this item, click the Request from Interlibrary Loan link to borrow the article for free from another library.

screenshot of request the article button

You will receive an email from the Interlibrary Loan department when your article is ready. Click on the link in the email to access the article. It usually takes 2-3 days to get an article.

Find the Most Cited Articles

Web of Science's best feature is its ability to show the connections between articles on a topic. It does this by showing who has cited an article. Make use of this feature by clicking on the Times Cited number next to specific articles you are interested in.

Screenshot of Times Cited Number in Web of Science

Or to most easily find the most cited articles on your topic (a proxy for "most popular" or "well known") change the sort by drop-down menu on the top of the results page.

Screenshot of sort by times cited in Web of Science

 

Find Citing Articles

Enter the title of the article. Make sure to change the search from a topic search to a title search using the drop-down box next to the search box.

screenshot of  title search bar

Tip – sometimes it helps to put quotes around the article title to find just that article. For example – "The dead do not lie: using skeletal remains for rapid assessment of historical small-mammal community baselines"

Once you find the article you are searching for (your assigned reading article), on the right side of the search results, find the Times Cited number. Click on that number. In my example, the number is 36.

screenshot of how many times the highlighted article was cited

Clicking on the times cited number takes you to a list of all the articles that cited your original article. Find an article you are interested in (look at the titles and view the abstract), then click the Find it@OSU button to view the article.

screenshot of the "find it at OSU" button below an article link