Student Services Librarian
by Ruth Gustafson – November 5, 2019
Sciences Topic Ideas and Search Terms
The top journals SCIENCE and NATURE have been publishing key science literature since the 19th century. 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. Premier licensed medical journals — publishing since the 19th century — include JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), NEJM (New England Journal of Medicine), Lancet (this is an Elsevier journal, <2019 issues have perpetual access but no current access due to UC-wide Elsevier contract cancellation from Jan 2019), and BMJ (British Medical Journal). See also the Journal Citation Reports to find top journal publications in other science categories including key titles about the History and Philosophy of Science.
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.
UC Davis has extensive life science collections in the Shields Library (Biological, Agricultural & Environmental Sciences) and 2 separate health sciences libraries. Important science 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. The Physical Sciences & Engineering Library is closed through Summer 2020.
The UCD Libraries selectively buy materials on writing in the sciences. Browsable subject headings that bring up these types of publications as well as history of these areas include:
Biology — Authorship; Communication of technical information; Life sciences — Authorship; Medical writing; Medicine — Historiography; Science — Historiography ; Technical writing; Technology — Historiography
Selected current books on science writing are now found in the Shields Library Reference collection, 2nd floor Shields. These cannot be checked out but can be used in the library or chapters copied or scanned.
Several print books will be brought to the class for reviewing, with many in the call number range of Q 125 … In addition, the following are selected online titles that focus on specific aspects of historical scientific writing. Make sure you have the Library VPN, Pulse Secure turned on before accessing these eBooks from off campus.
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. See especially the Subject Guide for HISTORY: Science, Medicine and Technology .
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