General search

For important background information, see:

Tip: For many additional use cases relating to general/keyword searches see the Publish or Perish Tutorial. The General search can be used for instance to:

How to perform a general/keyword search

To perform a basic keyword search:

  1. Enter the keywors in the various fields (e.g. Title words, All of the words, Any of the words, None of the words, The phrase)
  2. Click Lookup or press the Enter key.

The program will now contact the data source in question to obtain the citations, process the list, and calculate the Citation metrics, which are then displayed in the Results list. The full list of results is also available for inspection or modifications and can be exported in a variety of formats.

General/keyword search syntax across databases

Every data source has its own unique syntax that – oftentimes – is not fully documented. Below you will find the most important tips and problems, but to get the best out of the different data sources you need to be prepared to experiment with different search strategies. If you find that some things are not working as you expect, please share your findings by sending me an email, so that, collectively, we can improve these instructions.

Please note: The search syntax below refers to what works best when you search the data source through Publish or Perish. This is not always identical to the most effective search syntax in the web interfaces of the respective databases as these might be structured differently.

Data source Preferred search syntax Most common problems
Crossref
  • Can search for “any of the words”, which matches in title and abstract
  • Can search for “title words”, which matches “any of the words” in title only
  • Words will be matched in any order

  • Does not have an “all of the words” option
  • Does not have a “none of the words” option
  • Does not have an exact phrase search
  • Cannot search for keywords in full-text of articles
Google Scholar (GS)
  • Can search for “all of the words”,
  • Can search for “any of the words”
  • Can search for an exact phrase [“the phrase”]
  • Can restrict search through “none of the words”
  • Can restrict search by clicking “title words only”
  • Field size is limited to approximately 100 characters, words beyond this limit are ignored
  • Full text search can lead to many irrelevant results
  • Cannot search for keywords in title AND abstract
Google Scholar Profile (GSP) N/A only author searches N/A only author searches
Microsoft Academic (MA)
  • Can search for “all of the words”
  • Can search for “any of the words”
  • Words will be matched in any order in the title only
  • Does not have a “none of the words” option
  • Does not have an exact phrase search
  • Cannot search for keywords in abstract or full-text of articles
Scopus
  • Can search for “all of the words”
  • Can search for “any of the words” by using OR between words in the “all of the words” field
  • Can search for an exact phrase [“the phrase”]
  • Can restrict search through “none of the words”
  • Words will be matched in title and abstract
  • Cannot search for keywords in full-text of articles
Web of Science
  • Can search for all of the words in “title words” field
  • Can search for any of the words by using OR between words in “title words” field.
  • Words will be matched in any order in the title only
  • Does not have a “none of the words” option
  • Does not have an exact phrase search
  • Cannot search for keywords in full-text of articles