How to make use of the Web of Science

The Web of Science is a platform with paid access that offers (usually via the internet) access to numerous databases that contain reference and citation data from academic journals, conference proceedings, and other publications in a variety of academic disciplines. Nevertheless, some articles are free to read on the website.

Web of Science Basic Search

The default search button on the core website is set to “All Fields”. A search using All Fields can occasionally produce unexpected results because it will also look up things like author addresses. You can perform a title, abstract, author keyword, and Keywords Plus search by choosing Topic from the drop-down menu. The Index Date is also editable.

You can change the order in which your results appear. By default, relevance is the order that is used. By choosing another option from the drop-down menu to the right of the Export button, you can modify this.

To locate the most well-known publications on a subject, sort by Citations: highest first might be quite helpful.

Refine Results

Options to narrow your search results can be found in the left sidebar of your results:

You can select from many options, and scroll down the page to find a link to refine by even more options:

Access Full Text

Click on the link next to an article on your results page to access the full text of that article.

Once the article is found, you can proceed to digest its full content. But sometimes, to gain access to certain articles some form of payment may be required.

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Open Access

Select the Open Access option in the Quick Filters box or use the Open Access tab, which offers additional options to refine open access articles by type, to narrow your results. Open Access articles are those you can access without having to pay for them or have your institution pay a subscription fee.

For more information, you can look at the Web of Science Help section on Open Access.

Basic Search Tips

  • You can use Boolean operators to narrow your search: OR will include results with either term, but not necessarily both; NOT will reject articles containing that word. AND includes both or all of the words you are looking for. You can use a boolean proximity search to identify certain phrases that are CONNECTED. Boolean search expressions can utilize parentheses to overrule the priority of the search operator.
  • Wildcards can also aid in the refinement of your search. By incorporating additional potential word alternatives in your search, wildcards can also aid in the refinement of your search. They stand in for unidentified letters or characters in a word.
  • “Phrase Searching” is searching for exact phrases by including them in “quotation marks.

You can also check out the Web of Science Core Collection Search Rules Help, in case you require further assistance.

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