Eli forgets where, but he got trapped in a discussion of search engines, citation analysis and open source publishing. While Eli is a smart bunny, he don't know it all, but he knows some, probably more about these things, so what follows is the first of some brief summaries for beginners. Hopefully this will eventually cover Googele Scholar, SciFinder, WebofScience, Scopus, INSPEC, ProQuest. Anybunny who wants to take a chance on any of these or others, feel free. Talking about free, the place to start is obviously:
Google Scholar: Google scholar is a free offering from Google that can be accessed at http://scholar.google.com/. It's strength is that it will find (pretty much) anything on the net, journals, books, conference proceedings, etc. The disadvantage is that it misses (pretty much) everything that is not on the net, so it will be weaker, the further back in time that you go. Google scholar is catholic, it searches across all fields.
A typical entry reads
Phylogeny and ancient DNA of Sus provides insights into neolithic expansion in Island Southeast Asia and Oceania
process that began when humans first left Africa at least 90,000 years ago. The precise
origins and dispersal routes of the Austronesian peoples and the associated Lapita ...
If you are lucky there is something off to the side like [HTML] from NIH.gov which will take a bunny directly to an open source for the article
The Cited by 124 leads to 124 other entries which cite the article you found. This is the citation time machine. It takes you to articles on (vaguely) the same topic, but published after the one you are looking at.
Related Articles are ones that have been cited by the original article or that Google thinks should have been cited by the original article, or have appeared later and would have been cited according to Google. Again a help when one is researching a topic.
The All 23 versions link brings you to a page which lists all other pages where either the original article can be found (often behind paywalls). For a paywalled article this is a good place to shop for an open version, but most of the links are to collections of abstracts which can be frustrating especially if the abstract collection links back to the paywall.
Cite brings up a pop up
Copy and paste a formatted citation or use one of the links to import into a bibliography manager.
MLA Larson, Greger, et al. "Phylogeny and ancient DNA of Sus provides insights into neolithic expansion in Island Southeast Asia and Oceania." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104.12 (2007): 4834-4839.
APA Larson, G., Cucchi, T., Fujita, M., Matisoo-Smith, E., Robins, J., Anderson, A., ... & Dobney, K. (2007). Phylogeny and ancient DNA of Sus provides insights into neolithic expansion in Island Southeast Asia and Oceania. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(12), 4834-4839.
Chicago Larson, Greger, Thomas Cucchi, Masakatsu Fujita, Elizabeth Matisoo-Smith, Judith Robins, Atholl Anderson, Barry Rolett et al. "Phylogeny and ancient DNA of Sus provides insights into neolithic expansion in Island Southeast Asia and Oceania." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104, no. 12 (2007): 4834-4839.New! Save this article to my Scholar library where I can read or cite it later. Learn more
If anybunny is serious about science they need a reference manager, something that allows organization of references, insertion into documents and general all around avoidance of aggro. BibTeX grew our of LaTeX, something Eli avoids with a passion. If the Bunny wanted to be a printer he would have gone into the family business. However, it is free and there are now interfaces to Word and OpenOffice.
EndNote, the one Eli uses, is sold by Thompson-Reuters at a huge markup, $250, but at ~half price to students and others associated with universities, $113. There is a web based version.
RefMan is another Thompson Reuters product, costs are about the same. Eli knows nothing about it
RefWorks is web based. They sell annual licenses to individuals ($70) and organizations. It is surprisingly hard to find out where you can get a license.
Saved offers you a place to save a reference you are interested in. It is possible to label categories of papers so that the database is not flat.
Google Scholar also has an interesting front end, Ann Harzing's Publish or Perish more oriented towards citation analysis than searching, but none the less very useful for searching Google Scholar, especially for work by a particular person. Publish or Perish has an excellent page on the meaning of various indicies starting with the original h-index
- Proposed by J.E. Hirsch in his paper An index to quantify an individual's scientific research output, arXiv:physics/0508025 v5 29 Sep 2005. It aims to provide a robust single-number metric of an academic's impact, combining quality with quantity.
Oh yeah Google Scholar also does a citation analysis, but only for yourself, which can be made public or not.