OA and the research lifecycle 4: conducting the literature review
As a librarian, when I need to conduct a literature review I go first to NELSON, to interrogate the library’s subscription databases. From there I may try the individual databases that are most relevant to my subject (Web of Science, Emerald and so forth), and after that to CORE, to pick up the open access literature.
The advantage of using CORE is that it usually returns a number of results that haven’t appeared elsewhere. This is not only because CORE’s coverage is immense (just under 25 million open access articles) but also because the content it harvests is not restricted to the peer reviewed journal literature: CORE also has research reports, books, conference papers, theses and a host of other grey literature.
Moves to make PhD theses openly available have been particularly successful in recent years. Here in the UK, the British Library’s EThOS service now has about 400,000 thesis records dating back to 1800; 160,000 of these are now openly available in full text. Internationally, the OATD.org (Open Access theses and Dissertations) database has details of just under three million theses and the NDLTD Gobal ETD Search indexes over four million theses and dissertations (but not all are available as full text).
Google Scholar can be a useful source of both theses and other scholarly literature. Some is open access but I recommend that you set up a link to our library to be sure of getting all the subscription resources you are entitled to. To do this, select ‘Settings‘, then ‘Library Links‘ and then enter ‘Northampton’ into the search box. This will create a link to ‘Find It @ UoN’ for any result that should be available to you:
I have listed some other sources of open access content in a previous post: Searching for open access articles. I recommend that you check these out and include those that are relevant to you in your search strategy for your literature review.
- Google Scholar Chrome extension: features and RefWorks integration
- Searching for open access articles
- Open access and the research lifecycle: a guide for researchers
- Open access and the research lifecycle – other posts