Research Tips

In this page, I would like to share with you some tips that I found really useful when doing my research. I will update more when I remember more things.

1. Wikipedia is not a good reference, but it is a good source for references

A lot of people say to not use Wikipedia for references because anyone can edit them so you’d never know whether the information there is true or not. And yes, I do agree with them. I have found some Wikipedia pages with misleading information. Some are just plain wrong!

BUT!

Wikipedia has helped me big time when I was writing my PhD thesis. The good thing about Wikipedia is that it lists the references in each of its articles. So you can search whatever information you want in a search engine, go to the corresponding Wikipedia page, locate where the information is, and look for the external references that it cites.

Once you have the external references, which most of the time are scientific papers, have a look through the paper and confirm that the information you are looking for is indeed there. When you’re done, just cite the paper itself.

2. Easy way to get a paper if you know the journal name, year, volume, and page

I believe all of us know that looking for the one paper you found in a reference a giant pain in the neck: You need to access the journal’s website, look for the link to the journal archives, look for the correct year, then volume, then number, open that link, and then look for the paper you want from the page or author.

I know you can just search it using the search form from the journal’s website. And you’re lucky if you know the DOI (look at tips no 3 if you don’t know how to use DOI), because authors don’t usually quote the reference’s DOI in their paper. But what if you need several papers at once? Imagine doing all that several times! Madness!

Here’s the website I found 6 years ago and am still using today:

Chemistry Reference Resolver
by Oleksandr Zhurakovskyi

This website helped me a lot during my PhD, especially during my thesis write up! I am really grateful to the creator who made this awesome website.

In this website you can search for multiple papers from multiple different publishers at once! Simply type in the journal name, year, volume, and first page (or a range of page) and hit ‘Resolve’. You can even search for some reagents from the Sigma-Aldrich website here! Here’s a more extensive help.

Example (the year, volume, and pages are random):

Type in:
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 20, 1717
J. Org. Chem. 2017, 20, 17171
Org. Lett. 2017, 17, 1720-1771
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2017, 20, 1717-1720
Tetrahedron 2017, 17, 2020
Tetrahedron Lett. 2017, 20, 1771
sa methanol (this searches methanol in Sigma-Aldrich website)

And hit ‘Resolve’ and voila!

You can also abbreviate them if you are too lazy to write the journal name, which is what I always do. You can check the website’s Supported Journal page for a lot of abbreviations if you wish, but these are some that are common and I use often:

jacs, 2017, 20, 1717 (for J. Am. Chem. Soc.)
joc, 2017, 20, 17171 (for J. Org. Chem.)
ol, 2017, 17, 1720-1771 (for Org. Lett.)
acie, 2017, 20, 1717-1720 (for Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.)
aciee, 2017, 20, 1720-1771 (for the good old Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl.)
tet, 2017, 17, 2020 (for Tetrahedron)
tetlet, 2017, 20, 1771 (for Tetrahedron Lett.)

When you do this, don’t forget to add the comma after the journal name.

3. Getting a paper if you know its DOI

If you know the DOI (digital object identifier) of a paper, it’s much easier to locate it! You can use the website I mentioned above: simply paste the DOI in the box and hit ‘Resolve’.

Alternatively,  in the address bar of your web browser type: ‘dx.doi.org/’ and then copy the DOI, and paste it after the slash. Hit enter/return on your keyboard. For example:

DOI: 20.2017/RetroSynthetiX.(2017).is.777:cool.20

Copy that and then in your browser’s address bar type:

dx.doi.org/

Paste the DOI at the end after the slash so it becomes:

dx.doi.org/20.2017/RetroSynthetiX.(2017).is.777:cool.20

And hit enter/return on your keyboard.

DOI can have a simple pattern like you find in ACS, Wiley and Nature papers, or more complicated ones like you find in Elsevier papers. Either way, just make sure you copy everything, down to the last parentheses or period if there’s any.

4. to come

to come