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Review articles are not primary research - they don't report new results - but they can be helpful to researchers because they provide a map of what's been going on in some area of chemistry. These are published in chemistry journals as well as in "annual reviews" which publish several review articles once a year.
These volumes provide basic information on the most important synthetic reactions and on reliable methods for preparing organic compounds.
ORGANIC REACTIONS, v 1, 1942 - (QD 251 .O7)
ORGANIC SYNTHESES, v. 20, 1940 - (QD 262 .O7); also available online.
Two other annual publications review recent research of interest in the fields of biochemistry and physical chemistry.
Wecome to the Republic of Science
visualization of social media connections by Michael Coghlan
Years ago, philosopher of science Michael Polanyi described science as a republic, one that depended on scientists all contributing their expertise to a common purpose, independent but also interdependent. As you explore chemistry literature, you'll be getting a glimpse of how this republic works and will have a chance to enter into its conversations. This guide will link you to some entry points.
"The Republic of Science shows us an association of independent initiatives, combined towards an indeterminate achievement. It is disciplined and motivated by serving a traditional authority, but this authority is dynamic; its continued existence depends on its constant self-renewal through the originality of its followers. The Republic of Science is a Society of Explorers."
Important Databases for Chemists
The American Chemical Society produces the most complete and complex database of chemical literature, but there are others that can be part of your toolkit. Here are some options. It's worth your while to spend some time exploring Sci Finder because, while there's a learning curve, it's incredibly powerful and if you go on to further study in chemistry, you'll be glad you did. It's also incredibly expensive, so enjoy using it while you can.
SciFinder-n (new in 2022) This link opens in a new window
The most important research tool for chemists. It's huge - millions of references to chemical literature - and it's powerful, with many specialized ways to search. There are several short videos available to help you quickly choose among your options: Need-to-Know Videos
Unlike other databases, you need to create a username and password. To find full text or request it through ILL, click on "link to other sources." You will need to enable pop ups on your computer.
Google Scholar This link opens in a new window
You probably have used this database before. Google has made arrangements with publishers to index their journals - sometimes using the journal's metadata, sometimes crawling both metadata and full text content. It also sweeps up references to some books, conference papers, dissertations, and other things. Being able to easily see who has cited a paper is one of the best things about GS. Less well-known is that it will conduct the same search for you in Web of Science, which is harder to search but a little more picky about what is included. Because publishers are their data source, you'll see links to buy articles. DON'T!!!! The library will get you a copy at no cost to you, usually within 24-48 hours.
PubMed (citations from MEDLINE and other sources) (New PubMed) This link opens in a new window
Though this is a medical research database, it can be a good resource, depending on your research area. The best thing about it is that it's free to everyone in the world. The National Library of Medicine, part of the National Institutes of Health, also does a good job of linking citations to free full text when it's available. (Check out the limits to the left-hand side of your search results.) If you get a grant from the NIH, you must deposit your finished research publications with them so that they are available to all - a practice that is increasingly common among research funders.
Web of Science (Web of Knowledge) This link opens in a new window
This multi-disciplinary database lets you search by the usual things (author, title, keyword) and also to see who has cited a particular publication. You might want to limit your search to "science citation index" to leave out social sciences and humanities articles. The "related records" link sometimes kicks out interesting connections by looking at articles that cite the same sources.
How do I get the actual articles?
Libraries are linked together through an interlibrary-loan (or ILL) system. Libraries share books and make digitized articles available to people throughout the state connected through this system. What you need to know:
- Many databases have a find it! button that will first see if an article is in another database and, if not, offer you a chance to request it from another library. Google Scholar includes links to library content to the right of the search results (find it @ Gustavus). When there's no link to the article on the right-hand side, click the tiny more option under the article to get the link to request it through ILL.
- You'll need to enter your Gustavus account username and password to log into the library system.
- The form will be filled out for you. All you need to do is scroll down and click submit.
- You will then get an email with a link and instructions on how to download the article. You can keep the article. (You can also request books, but those you have to return.)
- Sometimes things go wrong. Library ILL staff are friendly and helpful. They will do their best to help you get what you need.
If you have a reference to an article you want, you don't need to go through a database to order it. There's a form you can fill in with the citation information, but it's cleverly hidden. To find it ...
- Go to the library website. On the left-hand side, click "My Library Account."
- Click on the "Sign In" button in the upper right-hand corner.
- Log in using your Gustavus user name and password.
- Click on "My ILL Requests"
- Click on "Create Request," fill in the blanks, and click "Submit."
From this page, you will also have the option to download PDFs of articles you have requested recently. Be sure to download them because they will vanish after a period of time.
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