Archive for Research Tips

Open Access at MIT Press

The MIT Press has been a pioneer in open access publishing producing its first open access book in 1995. There are now well over one hundred monographs available ranging from Economics in the Age of COVID-19 (2020) to Frankenstein Annotated for Scientists, Engineers, and Creators of All Kinds (2017).

MIT also publishes several open access peer-reviewed journals as well.

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Is There a Substitute for Interlibrary Loan?

With the suspension of interlibrary loan in many areas of the country, are there any other options? Yes, there are. They won’t fully answer the amazing service that is interlibrary loan, but these tips can possibly mitigate the dire predicament we find ourselves in.

For journal articles, these steps might be handy:

1. Look for the title of the article in Google Scholar; you may find a full text version that way.
2. Possibly the Google Scholar search will not produce the article in question, but it may list other articles that have cited the original article and possibly those articles might suffice.
3. Look for the c.v. of the author. Many authors have secured pdf versions of their articles and posted them in their c.v.
4. Register for free at ResearchGate, a portal containing numerous articles from a wide variety of disciplines. Also, provides a similar service.
5. Search through preprint and depository sites.
6.JSTOR has Early Journal Content containing hundreds of journals. JSTOR also has free limited access to 2,000 journals through its register and read page
7. You can contact the author directly and ask for a copy of the article.
8. If it is absolutely necessary, one can always purchase the articles directly from the publisher though this a a very expensive alternative
For books, there are literally millions available online; here is a sampling of sites:

It might also be useful to consult Amazon where many of the books have a “look inside” feature; Google Books also contains a similar accessing point.

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How to Determine a Journal’s Ranking

The CWTS Journal Indicators presents bibliometric data on 20,000 scientific journals scattered among dozens of disciplines. This interactive feature allows a granular analysis of a journal’s impact in a specific sub-field; the methodologies employed are clearly delineated. The differences between the rankings in this tool and the “journal impact factor” are explained.

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Continuously Updated Bibliographies On Terrorism and Related Subjects

Perspectives on Terrorism, a bimonthly publications from the Terrorism Research Initiative, contains a wealth of  material of especial interest to those in the security field. Some examples of what each issue includes are:

Recent Online Resources for the Analysis of Terrorism and Related Subjects – a bimonthly listing of copious, linked sources culled from a wide variety of sites and dealing not just with terrorism but also delving into the areas of cybersecurity and resilience studies;

a guide to open access theses/dissertations on specific topics, such as 475 Academic Theses (Ph.D. and MA) on Countering Violence Extremism (CVE), Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) and Terrorism Prevention;

a recurrent feature highlighting recent books on terrorism, here is the most recent example- Counterterrorism Bookshelf: 12 Books on Terrorism & Counter-Terrorism-Related Subjects;

an ongoing examination of terrorism by region, here is the latest entry – Bibliography: Terrorism by Region—Indian Subcontinent;

multi-part examinations of a specific topic such as Bibliography: Terrorism and the Media (including the Internet) (Part 4);

and topical bibliographies on selected terrorist groups such as Bibliography: Boko Haram .

The bibliographies can be quite long, 40+ pages, and if there are operational links, they are included; in most cases, these bibliographies contain hundreds of active links.

Access to the entire archives is here.




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IEEE Open Access Option

When searching the IEEE digital library, on the advanced search screen, you have the ability to limit your search to “open access”. While not retrieving every document you are searching for because of the reduced availability of references in this mode, the open access option will give you an entree to full text journal articles and conference papers on your topic. Both searches for “cybersecurity” and “drones” garnered hundreds of full text sources. When searching, utilize the “full text and metadata” choice.

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National Academies Press

The NAP is the publishing arm of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, and the National Academy of Engineering – all are among the most prestigious STEM organizations in the world and as such produces highly regarded monographs, reports, briefings, and consensus documents on a whole host of topics from agriculture to national security. Well over 9,000 volumes are freely available online, sorted into specific topic areas. If one listens to the news, one will inevitably hear about a report issued by the NAP; the latest one to inform the general public dealt with The Public Health Consequences of E-Cigarettes. One can always look at the latest releases section to see what new reports have been generated; more than 200 are published every year. And you can stay in touch with the NAP via various media platforms as well



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New Edition of Department of Defense Dictionary Published

This new iteration, correctly entitled DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, dated February 2018, incorporates new terms such as “maritime environment”. It also lists those terms that were removed/replaced as well as terms added or modified. For those researching the military sector, this work is especially useful for the specific definitions/contexts of terms one encounters.

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How To Spot Fake News

This is the title of a very informative piece from; it’s what we librarians do on a daily basis.

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Selected Topics in Nursing

Three times a year, The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, publishes Journal Topics that is an issue-driven examination of some important aspect of nursing. Each issue is edited by an expert in the field, the articles are professional and erudite, links are given where/when available, and the supporting bibliographies act as a guide to relevant literature. Sixty of these presentations have been published so far; they range from Cornerstone Documents in Healthcare to Compassion Fatigue: Caregivers at Risk. So if you are looking for a topic to explore, why not review those listed at this site?

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Old School Research

Before the Internet, before electronic catalogs and networks, how did researchers find the locations of books they needed? They relied on printed union catalogs – tools that listed the combined holdings of libraries. The largest one produced was nicknamed “Mansell” in honor of the publisher who produced the massive 754-volume The National union catalog, pre-1956 imprints ; a cumulative author list representing Library of Congress printed cards and titles reported by other American libraries. The title, however, is a misnomer; it was not a truly a “national” catalog but rather a guide to the holdings of major public and private libraries. This is not the place to have found what your town library held. But it was of immense help to scholars trying to track down copies of needed works; we can personally attest to its importance. An article detailing the history and the continued usefulness of this paper product in the electronic age can be found here.

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Etymology:  A borrowing from Latin. Etymon: Latin plagiārius. < classical Latin plagiārius person who abducts the child or slave of another, kidnapper, seducer, also a literary thief (Martial 1. 52. 9), in post-classical Latin also (adjective) concerning plagiarism (15th cent.) < plagium   kidnapping (see plagium n.) + -ārius  -ary

-“plagiary, adj. and n.”. OED Online. March 2016. Oxford University Press. (accessed March 29, 2016


Charges of plagiarism are not limited to education. Historians, journalists, politicians, and government officials have all been accused of plagiarism; even rock gods are not immune from these accusations. In some areas, plagiarism is rampant – check out this June 5, 2016 article from The Atlantic.


What is your institution’s stance on plagiarism? Here is NJCU’s:  Academic Integrity Policy and from the 2009 Faculty Handbook



Avoiding Plagiarism (from the respected Purdue OWL – Open Writing Lab)

Plagiarism (from the American Historical Association. It is slightly dated, but it contains of wealth of information)

Plagiarism (selected articles from InsideHigherEd)

Plagiarism (selected articles from The Chronicle of Higher Education)

Plagiarism (University of North Carolina – Writing Center)

Retraction Watch (among other areas of chicanery examined, plagiarism ranks high)



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Law Library of Congress Legal Reports

At the behest of Congress, the library produces legal reports on various topics; they “… provide commentary and recommended resources on issues and events. These reports are provided for reference purposes only and do not constitute legal advice.” The reports can be heavily footnoted and links are provided where available. The documents range from Bitcoin practices in forty countries to Japan’s constitutional prohibition against waging war. If you need to research various subjects from a legal viewpoint, you might want to stop at this site.

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Form 990 Database – Tax Filings for Nonprofits

Did you ever want to look up a nonprofit’s financial health, how much it pays its officers, what expenses it incurs? What is the general financial health of a nonprofit? This database from ProPublica – Nonprofit Explorergives one access to almost 2 million filings and 8 million documents dating back to 2001. You can search by name, state, category or organizational type; the results are listed in reverse chronological order and supply some relevant data in case you do not want to download the entire filing. However, while private higher education institutions must file (and their filings can be quite voluminous – here is Yale’s 300+ page filing), state colleges/universities are exempt from filing: “State institutions: A state institution that gets a free tax ride because it provides essential government services (a university for example) doesn’t have to file a Form 990.” (ref here or if you want to, you can go through this portion of the Internal Revenue Code. Good luck with that.)  So you cannot look up our sister schools, but you can look up their foundations. This database site also provides links to additional valuable resources on investigating nonprofits.

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European Parliamentary Research Service

Much like the Congressional Research Service or the UK Parliament Research Briefings, the European Parliamentary Research Service provides unbiased reports, in this case to the European Parliament. The publications range from in-depth analyses and studies to briefings on a wide variety of topics. Recent reports have touched upon higher education in the EU and asylum in the EU. In addition, its graphics warehouse contains a plethora of informative graphs. Another worthwhile source for authoritative information, this time with a European-centric flavor.

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Online Primary Sources for American History: Newspapers

Chronicling America is a site hosted by the Library of Congress where you will find over 6 million newspaper pages from 1836-1933; hundreds of titles are represented. Searching through that many pages can be a daunting experience, but the good folks at LC have come up with a handy search tool – Topics in Chronicling America. Here you will find an alphabetical listing of historical events/people found in the newspapers; each heading provides the same outline: historical timeline, suggested search strategies, and sample articles. For example, Female Spies in World War One starts out with a chronology covering 1915-1922, followed up with suggestions for more searches (gives names of female spies), and ends up with a sampling of newspaper articles covering the aforementioned time period. This is a great way to explore this wealth of primary source documents.

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SAGE Publishers Offering Free Access to All Journals and Many Reference Works During October

During the month of October, free access is available to a multiplicity of SAGE publications; i.e., 750+ journals, 1.3 million articles, hundreds of major reference works.  To register, read this announcement with links at the bottom. We know what we are doing this month!

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Online British Dissertations

The EThOS system from the British Library is a portal to dissertations generated by 129 British institutions. Currently, over 350,000 dissertations are listed here with over 120,000 freely available online.  One must remember that the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database primarily covers United States and Canadian research; to access other work, you need to go to EThOS or Dart-Europe.

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Cybersecurity Policy

With Chinese cyberspying being on the front pages as of this writing, this collection of resources from the Council on Foreign Relations is an very valuable starting point for identifying major organizations and reports dealing with cybersecurity. From data, history, surveys to government publications to universities to think tanks, this heavily-linked site is well worth a visit. It can be used in conjunction with the oft-updated CyberSecurity: Authoritative Reports and Resources.

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Need to Find Facts?

You want to use a reliable source to find facts on autism, Al Sharpton, or the Eiffel Tower? Then try Fast Facts from CNN. These updated briefings contain numerical, narrative, or biographical information on the subject being examined. There are over 900 entries on this site; there isn’t a browse mechanism, so you need to scroll to find subjects of interest. But trust to the rules of serendipity!

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A Guide to Cybersecurity Resources

The CRS has just updated its Cybersecurity: Authoritative Reports and Resources containing a wealth of information from government and private sources. A previous blog entry examines an earlier version of this report in greater detail.

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