Journal search: Search by ISSN

Publish or Perish tutorial

Note: This tutorial was originally written for Publish or Perish v4 and all screenshots come from this version. However, the information as such is also applicable for later versions of Publish or Perish. The instructions below only refer to Google Scholar journal searches; other data sources do not suffer from the same problems.

Rather than excluding journals by ISSN we can also search for journals by ISSN in Publish or Perish. This strategy gives a fairly good result for most journals.

Searching by ISSN provides "clean" results

The advantage is that searching by ISSN tends to limit results to hits coming from the publisher’s official website, thus automatically removing the more dubious stray citations from other sources.

ISSN searching works if publishers structure their websites appropriately

However, this strategy is only successful if the publisher has structured their website sufficiently well for Google Scholar to parse their ISSN. Fortunately, most journals seem to be improving their websites in this respect. For instance, whereas in 2010 a search for Australian Journal of Management by ISSN provided no results, it now provides a comprehensive set of articles (see screenshot).


Combine journal name and ISSN for the best results

My experiments suggest that the best results are acquired by combining journal name and ISSN, but as Google Scholar is not constructed as a bibliographic database I cannot give any guarantees that this is true for all journals.

My recommendations

Hence my recommendations are as follows:

  • If your only aim were to get a “quick and dirty” overview of the type of articles a journal publishes, I would recommend using ISSN and journal title or simply ISSN alone.
  • If a comprehensive and accurate result is needed, my suggestion would be to run a couple of trial searches with name, ISSN and a combination of the two to establish what provides the best result.

Support Publish or Perish

The development of the Publish or Perish software is a volunteering effort that has been ongoing since 2006. Download and use of Publish or Perish is and will remain free (gratis), but your support toward the costs of hosting, bandwidth, and software development are appreciated. Your support helps further development of Publish or Perish for new data sources and additional features.


PS: If you are using Publish or Perish on a regular basis, please take 5 minutes to provide me with some feedback.