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Sciences: Using Science databases

A collection of information resources and guidance for Science students

Searching databases - video guide

Students of biosciences and sports sciences may also find this brief introduction to MeSH terms useful.

What is Open Access?

The goal of the Open Access initiative is to make academic research freely and widely available, thereby improving the quality and frequency of future discoveries whilst enhancing your own impact and citation rate. 

Watch the short video below to find out more:


Bibliometrics are data that help you to understand the impact of a piece of work based on how many times it has been downloaded or cited by other academics.

You can use journal bibliometrics to help you assess the quality and significance of information published by that journal.

As is the case with all data, bibliometrics can be a false friend, and must be carefully appraised in context when referencing them in any kind of research.

For instance, an article containing some very poor science may have a high citation index because it is referenced in many other papers as an example of bad practice. UCL has produced a thought-provoking list of bibliometric limitations here 

You can use the SCOPUS database to compare journals by impact factor that contain a keyword, such as "cell", "nature" or "cancer".

You can also use Web of Science to see the number of times an article has been cited by searching the reference of the article. Check the 'How do I access my university's databases?' box on the left hand side of this page to take a look for yourself.

Introduction - LibrarySearch vs. Databases - what's the difference?

Here are some reasons why you need to be using subject-specific databases in your research:

  • LibrarySearch is able to search through many of our databases, but not all of them! 
    You'll need to use databases to find specific types of information, such as diagrams or data
  • LibrarySearch will only show you information to which we have full-text access 
    You'll need to use databases to see relevant abstracts and articles that we don't have access to
  • LibrarySearch uses simple and generic searching criteria
    You'll need to use boolean logic and specific 'subject headings' to refine your results in greater detail

Accessing databases through your university

Each university maintains a list of databases which can be accessed by students and staff. The links on these pages are checked and updated regularly.

  • University of Greenwich - go to the My Learning page in the Portal and select Online databases and academic journals.
  • University of Kent - Use the e-resources A-Z list from the University library webpages.
  • Canterbury Christ Church University - log in to LibrarySearch and select Find Databases A-Z on the home page (left-hand column).

Key databases for Science

See also the electronic resources for science page for information on maps, collections of ebooks/journals and other resources which we have in addition to these searchable databases.

  • CINAHL (available via Greenwich, Kent and CCCU)

    A comprehensive nursing and allied health research database, useful for Biomedical Sciences, Pharmacy and Sport and Exercise Sciences.

  • The Cochrane Library (access free online)

    Access to updated systematic reviews of the effects of health care, as well as a comprehensive database of clinical trials.

  • GreenFILE (available via Greenwich, Kent and CCCU)

    Provides info about journal articles and other documents on environmental issues.

  • Medline/Pubmed (Medline available via Greenwich and CCCU, Pubmed accessible free online)

    Biomedical database maintained by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, useful for all biological, medical and sport sciences. Medline can also be searched via Web of Science.

  • PsycInfo (available via Greenwich, Kent and CCCU)

    Comprehensive psychology database from the APA (American Psychological Association).

  • Scopus (available via Greenwich and Kent)

    Very wide-ranging database which is described as the largest database of journal articles in the world.

  • SportDiscus (available via Greenwich and CCCU)

    International sport and fitness database provided by the Sport Information Resource Centre.

  • Web of Science (available via Greenwich, Kent and CCCU)

    A wide-ranging database which searches the contents of the world's highest-quality journals in many disciplines. Web of Science also enables investigation into the relationships between different articles. You can also search life sciences database BIOSIS and biomedical database Medline through this interface. 

  • Zetoc (available via Greenwich, Kent and CCCU)

    Provides access to the British Library's electronic table of contents data for conference literature and journal articles across a wide range of subjects. Index only.

  • Zoological Record (available via CCCU)

    Accessed through Web of Science, this is a world leading source for animal biology.

Need help using databases?

This interactive resource will take you through the process step by step [University of Greenwich].