General/keyword search

For important background information, see:

How to perform a general/keyword search

To perform a basic keyword search:

  1. Enter the keywords that must appear in the title, abstract, or body text of the returned results in either the title words field or the keywords field.
  2. You may use AND, OR (using the vertical bar, a.k.a. pipe, symbol "|" has the same effect), and NOT (using a minus symbol "-" has the same effect) operators to create more complex searches.
  3. You may use "quotes" to search for an exact phrase, e.g. expatriate failure would provide results that match these words in any order and in any place in the title, abstract or body text, "expatriate failure" would only provide results in which these words appear together.
  4. Click Search 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.

Note: different data sources may have different syntax options. For an overview, please refer to the table below.

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 by using OR
  • Can search for Title words, which matches words in title only
  • Words will be matched in any order

  • Cannot search for all of the words, when using AND Crossref reverts to OR
  • Cannot restrict search, when using NOT Crossref reverts to OR
  • Cannot do an exact phrase search
  • Cannot search for keywords in abstract or full-text of articles
  • Exact match only, expatriate doesn't match expatriates
Google Scholar (GS)
  • Can search for all of the words by using AND [not essential as GS uses an implicit AND]
  • Can search for any of the words by using OR
  • Can search for an exact phrase by putting the phrase in "quotes" 
  • Can restrict search by using NOT
  • Can search for title words only or for matches anywhere in the article by using keywords
  • Full text search can lead to many irrelevant results
  • Cannot search for keywords in title and abstract
  • Exact match only, expatriate doesn't match expatriates
Google Scholar Profile N/A only author searches N/A only author searches
Microsoft Academic (MA)
  • Can search for all of the words by using AND [not essential as MA uses an implicit AND]
  • Can search for any of the words by using OR
  • Words will be matched in any order in the title only, regardless of whether the title field or keywords field is used. However title field requires the comple title, keywords field can process individual words
  • Cannot restrict search by using NOT, using NOT provides an error message
  • Cannot do an "exact phrase" search
  • Cannot search for keywords in abstract or full-text of articles
  • Exact match only, expatriate doesn't match expatriates
Scopus
  • Can search for all of the words by using AND [not essential as Scopus uses an implicit AND]
  • Can search for any of the words by using OR
  • Can search for an exact phrase by putting the phrase in "quotes" 
  • Can restrict search by using NOT
  • Can search for title words only or for matches in title and abstract
  • Uses stemming, expatriate also matches expatriates
  • Cannot search for keywords in full-text of articles
Web of Science
  • Can search for all of the words by using AND [not essential as Scopus uses an implicit AND]
  • Can search for any of the words by using OR
  • Can search for an exact phrase by putting the phrase in "quotes" 
  • Can search for title words only or for matches in title and abstract
  • Uses stemming, expatriate also matches expatriates
  • Cannot restrict search by using NOT, using NOT provides an error message
  • Cannot search for keywords in full-text of articles