UWP 102B: Writing in the Disciplines: Biology

by Sheena M Campbell, Ruth Gustafson – May 23, 2022

Biological Sciences Topic Ideas and Search Terms

Useful sources for news in the biological sciences, where you might find interesting topics, are the magazines SCIENCE NEWS and NEW SCIENTIST. In addition, the top journals SCIENCE and NATURE include news items. Top licensed biology-focused journals include: Biological Reviews, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B – Biological Sciences (oldest continuously published biology journal in the world),  Quarterly Review of Biology, BioScience, FASEB (Federation of the American Societies of Experimental Biology) Journal and BioEssays. Top open-access journals focusing on the biological sciences which might provide ideas for topics include PLOS Biology, eLIFE and BMC Biology. Premier licensed medical journals include JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), NEJM (New England Journal of Medicine),  LancetBMJ (British Medical Journal), and Nature Medicine.  Top open-access medical titles include PLoS Medicine and BMC Medicine.

Once you’ve picked a topic, you will need to think of search terms to use for locating articles and other publications. The UC Davis Library online catalog uses Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH). Each library subject database — such as BIOSIS Previews or PubMed — also uses subject lists that can help you precisely search your topic.

Sheena Campbell

Student Services Department
Student Services Librarian

scampbell@ucdavis.edu

530-752-3058

In this Guide:

Avoiding plagiarism videos

The UCD Library maintains a webpage on Citation Guides, which focuses mainly on EndNote.

Citation Managers

Software to organize and automatically reformat your bibliographies. Compare popular citation management products: EndNote, Mendeley, Zotero, and Sciwheel

Scientific Literature Publication Cycle [Diagram]

University of New Mexico

Illustration of scientific research process using a clockwise timeline with indication of earliest research output to latter outputs of research process. Describes the type of literature generated at different points in the publishing cycle and the types of assimilation into secondary and tertiary literature.

UC Davis has one life sciences collection on the 3rd floor of Shields Library (Biological, Agricultural & Environmental Sciences) and 2 separate health sciences libraries. Important biosciences information may also be found as part of the Government Information collection of Shields Library, Lower Level. Veterinary information is located at the Carlson Health Sciences Library.

  • Biological, Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, Shields Library:  The BioAgEnvi Sciences print collections are located mainly on the 3rd floor of Shields Library. Some collections in the environmental sciences are located on the 2nd floor in the G classification areas.
  • Blaisdell Medical Library, Medical Education Building, UC Davis Medical Center
  • Carlson Health Sciences Library, Southwest UCD campus
  • Government Information Collection, Shields Library  — Choose Government Information gold button.  The UC Davis Library is a federal and state depository library with extensive historical and current collections in print, microform and electronic formats. We collect extensively from major international, intergovernmental organizations, selectively from local jurisdictions, and on a very limited basis from foreign governments. Agriculture, forestry, the environment and ecology are areas of strength. We collect comprehensively from the U.S. Congress and California Legislature, along with federal and state laws and regulations. The Library’s collection of technical report literature is extensive. We emphasize statistical data in all collecting areas. Most government documents and maps are listed in the UC Davis Library Catalog. Some materials, such as technical reports and historical documents, may require specialized indexes or assistance from government information librarians.

The UCD Libraries selectively buy materials on writing in the biological sciences. Browsable subject headings that bring up these types of publications include:

Biology — Authorship ; Communication of technical information ; Life sciences — Authorship ; Medical writing ; Proposal writing in biology ; Proposal writing for grants ; Proposal writing for medicine ; Proposal writing for research ; Report writing ; Scientific illustration ; Technical writing ; Visual communication in science 

Selected current books on biological/life sciences writing may be found in the Shields Reference collection, 2nd floor Shields (Call numbers ranging from Q-T – check catalog). These cannot be checked out but can be used in the library or chapters may be scanned/copied.

  • UC Library Search: UCD Library Local Catalog Search
    Replacing UCD Library Catalog on July 27, 2021, the new UC Library Search enables you to search through all of the University of California libraries’ collections. By selecting the ‘Local Catalog’ setting your search will be limited to items available through the UC Davis libraries. If you Sign in (on top right corner) using your UCD login and Kerberos passphrase, you are prompted with your loan period, can renew books online, and request items that have been checked out to another borrower, or are in storage.

 

  • Understanding Call Numbers

    Author: Library Instruction Services, Shields Library

    Library of Congress Classification is used for all of the UCD libraries except the health sciences libraries (which use NLM — National Library of Medicine — classification). Learn about how books are arranged in the UCD libraries with this guide.

    Date: 2004

 

SPECIAL NOTES:

NEED a PRINT ONLY ITEM AND CANNOT COME TO CAMPUS?  We’ll ship it to you!  The UCD Libraries have a COVID-time-only shipping service in place.   Just click on the REQUEST link from the item you need and we’ll mail the whole item to you.  Make sure you have your correct address listed, when prompted.

ONLY NEED a chapter or an article from a PRINT ONLY ITEM?  Use the DIGITIZATION link but make a note of the specific chapter/article you need and include as much info as you can, especially page number, if available.

 

Guide provided by the UCD Health Sciences Libraries to their eBook collections including a select list of major texts, organized by medical specialty.

Health Sciences eBooks

There is a subject guide matching nearly every department at the UC Davis campus.  Find the Subject Guide which best matches your major!  This browsable list is organized by broad disciplinary categories:  General & Multidisciplinary Resources, Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, Arts & Humanities, Biological Sciences, Engineering & Transportation, Government Information, Health Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Social Sciences

Peer Review

A process through which manuscripts submitted to a journal are evaluated for quality — by one or more subject experts in addition to the editor — before being accepted for publication.

ProQuest article databases (such as PsycINFO) include a checkbox to limit to “Peer Reviewed” articles. For journals retrieved from other databases, use the online Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory to locate your journal and then look for the black and white striped  symbol or referee shirt  Refereed  indicating the publication is “Refereed”.

  • Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory  Icon

    The standard source for information on virtually every active and ceased periodical, annual, irregular publication, and monographic series published throughout the world (plus thousands of newspapers). Indicates whether a publication is a refereed (peer-reviewed) title.

    NOTE: search by journal title, NOT article title. Ulrich’s provides information on the entire publication (journal, magazine, newspaper, annual review) NOT on the work within.

Clarivate Analytics Journal Citation Reports is a comprehensive tool for assessing the importance of research journals in disciplines and subdisciplines including medical specialties.

NOTE that *review* journals tend to be listed as top ranked titles, taking space away from original research titles, so use with caution. Typical review series may have the following words in their title: Advances in … ; Annual Review of …; Critical Reviews in … ; Current Opinion in … ; Expert Reviews in … ; International Review of … ; Progress in … ; Trends in …

Journal Citation Reports (JCR) is an annual publication by Thomson Reuters with each yearly data analysis being completed in the summer of the following year. JCR indicates: most frequently cited journals in a field: highest impact journals in a field; and largest journals in a field. JCR Science Edition contains data from over 7,300 journals in science and technology. JCR Social Sciences Edition contains data from over 2,200 journals in the social sciences. NOTE: For disciplines that have longer timespans for citation, consider sorting for ranking by using the 5-year Impact Factor sort.
Release Coverage: 1997-2015 (for 1996-2014 data)
Impact Factors in Wikipedia: validity, manipulation, and misuse of Impact Factors
Using JCR Wisely