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CVM Summer Research Program

Resources for the Summer Research Program students at the College of Veterinary Medicine. Last updated: 8/13/18.


Web of Science

Accessing Full Text Articles

In addition to the above video, the document Accessing Full Text Articles provides more in-depth information on getting full-text articles.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar can be set up so that it recognizes you as an MSU user and will give you access to full-text articles where possible.

1) Go to Google Scholar; login to your account if you have one.


2) Access settings by expanding the menu at the top left of the page, then clicking on the gear icon.

Accessing Google Scholar settings


3) Select Library Links from the menu on the left.

Library link options


4) Search for Michigan State University. From the results list put a check in the box by Michigan State University - MSU Access. Click Save.

Searching for MSU settings


5) When you do a search on Google Scholar a MSU Access link will appear to the right of the articles that the full text is available for. Clicking this link will take you to a page where you can download the PDF. You may be prompted to log in with your Net ID and password.

Be aware that a MSU Access link will not appear for all articles that the full text is available for. You may need to locate them by searching for the journal in the A-Z Electronic Journal List.

Example of article with MSU full text access


What is the difference between Google Scholar, PubMed, and Web of Science?

Each of these three databases is very popular at MSU, but each database is very different. The following major differences explained may help you make an informed decision about which database to use when.

Both Pubmed and Web of Science are human-curated databases. This means: 

  1. Journals are the focus of Web of Science and PubMed. They are selected for inclusion based on scholarly and quality criteria by literature review committees.
  2. Data about each article is entered into the database in a uniform structured way: author, title, date, journal name. This means you get accurate retrieval when searching for those things. Results can be sorted reliably by latest date. 
  3. Articles in PubMed are tagged with important information about their structure, such as "review article" or "clinical trial". They are tagged with structured words about their content and major topics to help you get better search results.
  4. Of the three, PubMed has the most "bells and whistles" to help you get good search results. 
  5. Articles in Web of Science are also tagged with important information about their structure, such as "review article". They are not tagged for content, so you must include all possible variations of the topic you are searching. 
  6. These databases have subject specificity in that journal are chosen for inclusion in PubMed or Web of Science based on subject matter. PubMed focuses on clinical and biomedical literature. Web of Science is interdisciplinary and includes the "best" journals of each subject area.

In contrast, Google Scholar is not a human-curated database but a search engine of the whole internet which narrows the results to "scholarly " ones based on machine automated criteria. 

  1. Criteria for inclusion as "scholarly" in Google Scholar results is based on publishers submitting information to Google Scholar about their web sites. It is not necessarily based on the attributes of the sources themselves. Not all publishers may have worked equally with Google and some included journals may be poor quality or even predatory journals.
  2. All subject areas are covered and Google Scholar includes more types of sources (such as conference proceedings, books, and reports) that are not included in Web of Science or PubMed. 
  3. Information about author, date, journal name, and other pieces of the citation is not standardized so may not be machine-readable by Google. Google Scholar offers an author, date or journal name search, but its accuracy varies greatly. Results can be sorted by date, but not necessarily reliably. 
  4. No human-curation means no tagging of articles for structure or content. You must search for all possible variations of the words from your topic. Inaccurate retrieval and variable content means that search results are not necessarily reproducible.

Web of Science and Google Scholar track citations, but PubMed does not.

  1. Both Google Scholar and Web of Science track citations--how many times that an article has been cited by other articles, books, or sources.
  2. Both Google Scholar and Web of Science allow you to sort your results by times cited (Google Scholar includes this in its "relevancy ranking").
  3. Be aware that times cited will differ greatly between Web of Science and Google Scholar. Neither one is complete, although Web of Science citation data is considered more accurate and reproducible and is used by official organizations as the standard.

Google Scholar searches full text of articles but PubMed and Web of Science search only the citation, abstract, and tagging information.

  1. Because Google Scholar searches the full text of articles, you can find information that is not necessarily in the citation or abstract of an article. You may be able to find things that are not included in search results from PubMed and Web of Science.
  2. PubMed and Web of Science are limited to abstract searching. This will limit the number of results compared to Google Scholar, but this can make it easier to locate items that are about your specific topic.
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