23 Research Databases for Professional and Academic Use
Updated July 31, 2023
Research databases are websites in which you can find professional resources. These databases often include scholarly journals, articles, research papers, excerpts from books and other essays. If you regularly conduct research for your job or in your education program, it may be beneficial for you to learn more about research databases. In this article, we explain the benefits using a research database can offer and provide a list of 23 databases you can use when gathering information.
Benefits of using research databases
Using research databases can offer a variety of benefits, including:
Research databases include articles and other resources that professionals within specific fields write. This means that they are generally more reliable than a source you may find with a regular search engine. Having reliable resources can help you find support for your work and ensure that you use accurate information. Being able to trust that a source you find through a database is reliable can help you save time and offer assurance when you're researching a topic in which you have little familiarity.
The sources you can find on a research database often includes citations for any information they used from other sources. They also often feature a citation you can use when citing that specific source. This can help save you time and ensure you accurately cite the resource if you use it in a research paper or presentation. Databases often offer citations for various formats too, such as MLA, APA and Chicago.
There are many different types of research databases, some of which are free to use. This can allow more professionals and students to access them. Research databases also allow professionals to find peer-reviewed, scholarly sources with ease. This experience contrasts the experience using a traditional search engine, as it takes more time and effort to sort through the results to find one that is useful and reliable.
23 academic research databases
If you're completing a research project or are looking for additional and reliable information about a particular topic, consider reviewing these list to find databases you can refer to:
Scopus is a database that features literature for a large variety of disciplines. It offers some services for free, but full access to the database requires a subscription. A unique feature of Scopus is that it also ranks journals and authors by their h-index, which tracks how many users cite the specific resource. This can help you find high-value sources without having to browse many articles.
PubMed is a database for medical and biology resources. This database features abstracts, summaries and other details about articles and longer bodies of work. It then provides the link to a full text, often in a PDF format, for users to reference. This is especially helpful as users can often download or print the PDF version of the resource to annotate or read in a different format.
3. Web of Science
Web of Science, also known as the Web of Knowledge is a very popular database. As users can infer from its name, it provides resources for science, social science and humanities disciplines. To gain access to this database, you can use the login information for the institution you attend. If you're not currently a student, you can also sign up for a personal subscription.
JSTOR is a free database that features scholarly articles and essays for multiple disciplines. This database prioritizes resources that have more recent publishing dates but has resources that date as far back as 1924. JSTOR is often most useful when you're looking for resources that originate from the United States, as the majority of its articles are U.S.-based.
Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) is a useful source for professionals in the academic field. This database features education-based literature. ERIC is a free database that the United States Department of Education sponsors to share resources for teachers and other academic professionals. It also has a thesaurus built into the database, which individuals can use while writing their research papers.
ScienceDirect is a multidisciplinary database that has thousands of journals and e-books for individuals to find under their search engine system. This is a free database that allows users to search for article keywords, authors or even specific journal publications. ScienceDirect specializes in scientific, medical and technical research.
7. IEEE Xplore
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Xplore is a database that caters towards engineering and computer science professionals and students. This database offers many different types of resources, including journals, conference papers, essays, books and articles. IEEE Xplore is a free resource with over a million items to find and use.
8. Academic Search Complete
Academic Search Complete is a database that stores information for multiple different disciplines. It allows users to search for peer-reviewed and scholarly sources based on the topic, keyword or even author. Users can add additional filters to their search, including publication year, to find magazines, book excerpts, journals and newspapers. To gain access to this database, you can use your school's login information.
9. CINAHL Complete
CINAHL Complete caters to nurses and allied health professionals. It provides citations and full-text articles from various scholarly sources. CINAHL Complete is a primarily free database, though some articles that originate from private sources instead of libraries may request users pay a fee for access. This database's content covers allied health and nursing topics from 1937 to the present.
10. Business Source Complete
Business Source Complete features full-text articles from journals and magazines. This database is a useful tool for business professionals and students, as it features sources for topics such as economics, finance, business management, marketing and business law. Business Source Complete is usually free for students, as many colleges and schools pay for a membership to provide open access to their students.
The American Psychological Association sponsors PsychINFO, a database that features literature that covers psychology and sociology topics. This is a useful research tool for professionals within the psychology field, including counselors, social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists. As a student or faculty member of a college, you can access PsychINFO for free by logging in to the database with a college-appointed username and password.
12. Communication and Mass Media Complete
Communication and Mass Media Complete is a free database for academics. It focuses on providing literature for topics such as communication, media studies, linguistics, discourse and rhetoric. Users can find full text articles and abstracts from reputable journals and magazines when using Communication and Mass Media Complete.
13. ABI/INFORM Collection
The ABI/INFORM Collection database is a useful tool for finding information on companies and business conditions. This database offers articles and excerpts for topics such as economic conditions, product information and management techniques. ABI/INFORM Collection offers global sources, but users need membership or college identification credentials to use it.
EBSCO hosts many individual databases for different disciplines, such as applied science, humanities, sociology and business. EBSCO is among the most popular of research databases and offers a variety of peer-reviewed and reliable sources. Some of EBSCO's sources are exclusive to the database company, so researchers may prefer this database because of its unique and reputable sources.
CORE is a database that contains global sources. It includes journals, articles, essays and other types of sources, including raw data for various topics. CORE requires a membership to use but may be free for professionals and students who have access through their workplace or college. A CORE membership allows users to both access sources and share their own peer-reviewed work.
16. Directory of Open Access Journals
Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is a collection of journal sources that users can access for free. Since its launch in 2003, this database expanded to feature over 16,000 sources. DOAJ is a multidisciplinary database that contains journals and other sources for fields such as technology, medicine, social sciences, arts, humanities and all areas of science.
17. Public Library of Science
Public Library of Science (PLOS) is a nonprofit publisher of research journals. This is an open-source database that provides access to research in science and medicine for professionals and students. The inclusivity of PLOS encourages collaboration between scientists and researchers and makes scientific findings available online quickly.
18. Bielefeld Academic Search Engine
Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE) is a search engine that provides access to millions of documents and research. The Bielefeld University Library manages the operation of this source. BASE accepts research from many disciplines, making it an excellent resource for all professionals. Users have access to the full text of most documents for free and can download other research papers for a fee.
Paperity is an open-source, multidisciplinary resource that offers access to the full text of more than several million academic research papers. This means they publish research in medicine, science, arts, humanities, social sciences and mathematics and make these documents free to view for a variety of professionals and academic scholars. Paperity is a resource available online and they also have an app to view research.
EconBiz is a virtual library for those studying economics and business. The German National Library of Economics, Leibniz Information Centre for Economics created this source in 2002. It's free to use and offers many helpful tools, besides the research journals including, a calendar of economics and business conferences, a guide to learn how to search for documents and filters so that you can search easily and quickly.
21. BioMed Central
BioMed Central (BMC) is one of the largest databases with free access to research. They specialize data regarding biology and medicine but include research from other disciplines as well, including, mathematics, engineering and physical sciences. One of the most popular resources on the database is BMC Public Health which is an academic journal covering various diseases and illnesses.
JURN is a free database that provides access to research in arts and humanities. With JURN, users can download the full text of many articles and research journals. Since its debut in 2009, JURN now helps scholars access data in biomedicine, business and economics.
Dryad is an international database that offers free access to research in the fields of medicine and science. They're a nonprofit organization with a commitment to education and making it more accessible. Many universities partner with Dryad and share the resource with their students.
Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
Frequently asked questions
What is a research database?
A research database is an organized collection of resources such as articles and books. Filtering features are standard, which makes it easy to sort through the information by date, language and document format. People often rely on research databases to find scholarly, peer-reviewed sources for academic purposes. Research databases may be general or specific to subjects such as history or pharmacology.
Are there free research databases?
Several free research databases are available online, with common examples including EBSCO and JSTOR. Free research databases often allow you to create an account and access academic journals, books and primary sources. You may also be able to access a free research database as a member of your local or university library. While many research databases are free, others require users to access their resources via a paywall.
Why use different databases for research?
People use different databases for research because of the unique information available across each platform. Collecting various sources allows you to consider all relevant information, obtain a thorough understanding of the topic and strengthen your arguments.
What is a primary research database?
A primary research database contains information that the researchers obtained themselves. This first-hand research differs from second-hand research in that it relies on unique findings rather than the analysis of preexisting studies. Primary research is ideal for people who want to establish authority in their field or collect data within a specific context.
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