Scopus: Time-saving tips for navigating peer-reviewed academic literature

Thanks to Caroline Gibson, Academic Liaison Librarian, for giving a great presentation on some less well-know features of Scopus, one of the largest abstracting and indexing databases of academic literature available.

Apologies for the late start to those of you streaming in online.

The recording of Scopus: Time-saving tips for navigating peer-reviewed academic literature is now available.

The demo focused on:

  • Search tricks specific to Scopus
  • Analysing results
  • Personalised features such as alerts, lists and saved searches
  • Bulk download of PDFs

Search tricks specific to Scopus

In Scopus there are two types of phrase search:

  • fuzzy phrase with double quotes, e.g. “palm oil” will return the two words, their plurals and UK/US alternative spellings together, in any order.
  • Exact phrase with curly brackets, e.g. {Elaeis guineensis} will return the phrase as you type it. It’s not case sensitive, but will include hyphens, and will restrict to results with these words in this order only.

Analysing results

Caroline demonstrated using the ‘Analyze results’ feature once you have conducted a search. This feature allows you to visually gain insights into your topic such as:

  • publication trends
  • top authors
  • journal (or source) titles publishing on this topic
  • countries and institutions publishing on this topic

Scopus‘s strength is that data is linked throughout the database, so you can explore articles, citations, authors, journal titles etc in more detail just by clicking.

Use the ‘Find it’ button to check OneSearch for the full text.

Personalised features such as alerts, lists and saved searches

It is recommended that you create an account with Scopus (and all Library databases) to access the personalised features.

You can keep up to date with the literature by setting up email alerts:

  • When new results that match your search are published
  • When your favourite journal brings out an new issue
  • When an eminent author publishes a new article, or is cited
  • When a key article is cited

There are also ‘Lists’ to organise your saved results, and ‘Saved searches’ to revisit your saved searches. You can even just view new results since you last ran the search to save you trawling the whole list again!

Download of PDFs

This features elicited the first ever Wow! moment in Research Bites history!

Researchers were impressed to see that Scopus allows you to download full text PDFs – where available – directly to a folder on your computer. It even names them for you in a helpful format.

This is in addition to exporting results to reference manager such as EndNote, .

There are specific systems settings required for the bulk download of PDFs, which you can find in the Scopus help.


Top 5 time-saving tips for OneSearch

Thanks to everyone who came along the the first session of Research Bites today, or listened in to the live stream.

I introduced some of the less obvious, but very useful features of OneSearch, the Library’s catalogue and discovery tool.

The top tips were:

  1. Log in to OneSearch to get access to your account, our subscribed resources and personalised features
  2. Use the right tab to search books and more, articles and more or everything together
  3. Refine your results such as by type of document or date
  4. Use the e-shelf to save and organise items you’ve found
  5. Save your search and even set up email alerts

Any questions about OneSearch, please contact the Library.

The recording of the session is already available via Panopto.

In November: Information seeking and management

Research Bites is back in November on the theme of Information seeking and management. These short, informal lunchtime sessions aim to deliver useful, practical information to researchers, and give you the chance to ask questions. More about Research Bites.

New live webcast

There is no need to register, just turn up. If you are not based in Lancaster, you can now watch a live stream of the session at 12.00 GMT by following the links below. Sessions will also be recorded and made available via the Recordings archive.

Top 5 time-saving tips for OneSearch

Wednesday 9th November, 12pm, Bowland North SR15. Live stream at 12.00 GMT.
Hear about these essential tips for making the most of the Library’s discovery tool.
Tanya Williamson, Academic Liaison Librarian, Library

Get better at literature searching

Wednesday 16th November, 12pm, Bowland North SR3. Live stream at 12.00 GMT
Learn how to tackle the most common literature searching problems.
Tanya Williamson, Academic Liaison Librarian, Library

Scopus: Time-saving tips for navigating peer-reviewed academic literature

Friday 18th November, 12pm, Bowland North SR3. Live stream at 12.00 GMT
Learn how to save searches, quickly analyse and download full-text results and take advantage of current awareness features including alerts.
Caroline Gibson, Academic Liaison Librarian, Library

Scholarly publishing and open access: things to consider

Monday 21st November, 12pm, Bowland North SR9. Live stream at 12.00 GMT
Get an introduction to the benefits of open access publishing, and learn about the available funding.
Louise Tripp, Academic Liaison Librarian and Open Access Manager, Library

Research data management: things to consider

Thursday 24th November, 12pm, Bowland North SR1. Live stream at 12.00 GMT
Learn about the best practice when it comes to managing your research data.
Hardy Schwamm, Research Data & Repository Manager, Library.

As always, tea and coffee and something sweet will be provided.

Introducing Scopus

Thanks to those who attended the Research Bites session Introducing Scopus’ last week. Unfortunately the session was not recorded on this occasion. The following features were demonstrated following the introductory slides.

Introductory slides20151124 Research Bites-Introducing Scopus

  • Document search
  • Author search
  • Affiliation search
  • Brief look of citation analysis tools and metrics such as citation counts, publishing trends and h-index

Scopus provide useful help and tutorials, details of coverage and short videos, such as this one.


Do documents published while at previous institutions appear in an author’s publication list? Yes. All items in Scopus linked to an author will appear in their document list, regardless of the research organisation they were affiliated to at the time. However they will only appear in the document list of the affiliated research organisation, which makes acknowledgement of affiliation more important than ever.

Does the Library support the use of SciVal, Elsevier’s research intelligence tool? No, not currently.

April is all about Information Management

Hello readers! April’s Research Bites programme is all about Information Management.

As always, there’s no need to sign up, and there will be tea or coffee and a sweet bite on offer.

New journal article alerts
Thursday 9th April , 12.00. Bowland North SR 1
Find out how to set up automatic alerts so you know when new articles come out on your topic.
Jenny Brine, Subject Librarian, Library

From database search to writing
Wednesday 15th April, 12.00. Bowland North SR 1
Get insights from an active researcher about his workflow using Endnote on an iPad and laptop.
Steve Wright, Learning Technologist, Faculty of Health and Medicine

Data Citation: What you need to know
Thursday 16th April, 12.00. Bowland North SR 1
Learn about the concept of data citation, how it can become an integral part of effective research practice, and how you can raise the profile of your own research data.
Hardy Schwamm, Research Data & Repository Manager, Library

Using Qualitative Data Analysis software to integrate research evidence and literature
Thursday 23rd April, 12.00. Bowland North SR 27
Learn how Qualitative Data Analysis (QDA) software can be used to help manage, analyse and integrate research literature and qualitative data.
Steve Wright, Learning Technologist, Faculty of Health and Medicine

Tools to manage your bibliography
Tuesday 28th April, 12.00. Bowland North SR 25
Get to know the pros and cons of some of the reference management tools available to you.
Lorna Pimperton and Tim Leonard, Librarians, Library

Using other libraries and archives
Thursday 30th April, 12.00. Charles Carter A05
Find out how to search for and access material held in other libraries and archives.
Helen Clish, Subject Librarian, Library

Finding UK company information

Thanks to Andy Holgate for his very informative talk on how to find UK company information and market reports, focusing mainly on Keynote and FAME. If you missed it, the recording is here.


There were a few questions and answers:


Can I still get access to Keynote as an alumni member? No unfortunately not, use of this database is limited to current staff and students only. Look at the Business and Management subject guide for useful free sources of information, such as Yahoo Finance.

Does keynote cover all registered companies in the UK? Yes.

Do I have to be on campus to use the Financial Times? Use the link from the subject guide, or Library website to access our subscription to the FT. For off campus access, you need to contact Andy Holgate for more information. Other databases will require you to log in using your University username and password.

December sessions


In December Research Bites is focusing on Information Seeking, which falls into Domain A of the Researcher Development Framework.

Join us for an informal 20 minute session. Bring your lunch, and a friend. Just turn up, no need to book.

Accessing British Standards Online. Tuesday 2nd December, 12.00. Bowland North SR 18

How to locate, view, print, cross-reference and track changes to British and adopted European and International standards. Lee Purkiss, Specialist Online Products Trainer, British Standards Online.

Finding UK company information. Wednesday 3rd December, 12.00. Bowland Nth SR 19
A quick guide on finding Market Research and company information for UK based companies. Andy Holgate, Subject Librarian, Library.

Going beyond Google and OneSearch. Friday 5th December, 12.00. County Main SR 7
Find out how library databases allow you to find relevant papers quickly and efficiently, using a variety of tools. Jenny Brine, Subject Librarian, Library

Finding international company information. Wednesday 10th December, 12.00. Bowland Nth SR 19
A quick guide on finding Market Research and company information for International companies and markets. Andy Holgate, Subject Librarian, Library

Finding and using Creative Commons licenced material: images, videos and more. Thursday 11th December, 12.00. County Main SR 2
An overview of some useful sources of Creative Commons-licenced images, icons, video and music, the types of CC licences, plus some best practice when reusing the work of others in your teaching or research. Tim Leonard, Assistant Librarian

Refining your search strategy: using keywords, subject headings, thesaurus. Friday 12th December, 12.00. County Main SR 7
Develop an effective search strategy using the thesaurus or system of subject headings alongside your own keywords to find the key papers for a thorough review of the literature. Based on experience of carrying out the literature search for systematic reviews for NICE. Jenny Brine, Subject Librarian, Library.

Photo Credit: Fr Antunes via Compfight cc