Why Is It so Hard to Find Scholarly Articles
Scientific articles are written by researchers or experts in a field to share the results of their original research or analysis with other researchers and students. These papers often go through a process known as peer review, where the paper is reviewed by a panel of experts in the field. Another reason why full-text articles are hard to find is because of our assumptions: it`s easy to believe that all journal articles can be found online. Omni and other full-text products can give us this assumption because they only display articles online. However, this is not always the case. For example, the library can only subscribe to a journal in printed form; Early issues of magazines before the Internet were popular (i.e. mid-1990s), may also not be available in electronic form. Nevertheless, Google Books can be a lifeline to find quality information for your essays. Most importantly, Google Books provides access to books, one of the two highest quality sources teachers look for when tagging your work. The student had found the quote via the Wikipedia entry for melatonin (the quote has since been deleted). We started with the usual process: search for the newspaper, find the right volume, and go from there. Unless you check Endocrine Journal, you will find that the volume number does not match the year, and there are no articles with a similar title in the publication.
Even author searches in the same journal yield nothing. For step-by-step instructions on how to quickly find journal articles, see the blog post: How to find full-text articles in Western libraries? The scale of this problem is enormous: 10 million researchers worldwide access 2.5 billion journal articles online each year [pdf]. The time wasted trying to access it is a tax on human progress and on the development and dissemination of new scientific knowledge. By estimating the average time lost by researchers trying to access a single article, I calculated that research equivalent to about 11,500 academics is lost each year. Luckily, it`s not hard to find academic sources online for free if you know where to look. The problem is that no one has taught you where to look! The teacher will likely have quotes on their lecture slides. Do not use quotation marks, but use these sources. If your teacher has quoted someone, it means that this author has influenced his thinking. If you find a way to refer to the person they quoted, you`ll get extra points.
There is also often a list of references on the last page of your teacher`s lecture slides. Here`s an example of a very common “last slide” in a teacher`s lecture: This phenomenon is known as the “curse of knowledge” and goes a long way toward explaining why academics have such a hard time communicating their research. Writing is difficult: our minds have evolved to speak, not to write. Few people can actually write clearly, concisely and attractively. Add to this the fact that academics cannot understand what it is like to read their work as a layman, and it is not difficult to understand why academic literature is generally poorly written. Research Gate also has the option to privately send a message to authors asking them to send you a copy. If you can`t find a source you really want to cite elsewhere, try using Research Gate to email the author. To do a paper search, simply create your free account and then search the search bar at the top of the screen: Research Gate and Academia.edu are two places where academics store their articles. These websites are like Linkedin for academics.
Most scientists who actively publish store their papers on these websites. So I started looking for publications with the same name. The Endocrine Journal is published by the Japan Endocrine Society and the years don`t match, so maybe the abbreviation was referring to something else? I found a journal called Endocrine (try to find them in a Google search!) published by Springer. This looked promising, as the first volume of Endocrine was published in 1993, which was exactly what I needed. But volume 1 is not available on the publisher`s website, so I could not confirm my suspicions. Online academic libraries are indispensable for finding scholarly sources. Unfortunately, scientific work that is difficult to understand creates an autonomous cycle. Students who learn to write scientific articles learn by reading them. The style I adopted for writing scientific reports is very different from the style in which I wrote this article. In writing this, I tried to be as direct and engaging as possible. But when you read scientific papers, you realize that this is not the priority.
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