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Managing and Sharing Information

As a researcher, you will want to know about the latest research being published in your field. Ideally, you would like to know about research, even before it's published. If you don't keep abreast with ongoing research, there is the risk that your literature review and bibliography will be incomplete or worse your research will duplicate what others have already achieved.

A good place to start is by making use of tools and networking sources available. 


Alerting services enable you to find out about the latest research in your field soon after it's published. They can provide lists of new journal articles etc. targeted to your research topic, via either regular e-mails or an RSS feed to a web page. The Library run occassional training on these services as part of our 'Keeping up-to-date with your research' session. Check when it is next on and sign up for training via LibSmart.

 If you create an e-mail alert, you will receive regular e-mails containing new references. Procedures vary by database or database platform, but you always need to register with the database first. Below are instructions on how to set up alerts on some of our major database platforms. To access these databases, go to our Databases A-Z webpage. 

Ebscohost databases:

Academic Search Complete, Business Source Premier, CINAHL Plus, Education databases (BEI, Educational Abstracts and ERIC), GreenFile, Historical Abs, LISTA, APA PsycInfo and SportDiscus  

  1. Open one (or more) of the Ebscohost databases and login to Ebscohost (or register if you have not already done so).
  2. Perform a search, then open the Share dropdown above the results. 
  3. In the option 'Create and alert', o to E-mail Alert and enter your email address and setting options, i.e. frequency of alert, e.g. once a month. Note. You can also set up an RSS feed from this area. 
  4. Save Alert. You should receive e-mail confirmation that your alert has been successfully created.
  5. You can view your existing Ebscohost alerts under Search History and Retrieve Alerts.


  1. Open Emerald and login, near the top left corner of the screen (or register if you have not already done so)
  2. Perform a search, then '+ Saved this search', above the results.
  3. Name the alert and adjust the number of results required (if necessary) then choose Add.

IEEE/IET Electronic Library

  1. Open IEEE/IET Electronic Library (IEEE Xplore).
  2. Sign in or Register if you have not already done so.
  3. Sign in to IEEE/IET Electronic Library.
  4. Perform a search. Above the results, go to Set Search Alert.
  5. Name your search and Save.
  6. To view your existing IEEE alerts, go to My Settings - Saved Searches.

Institute of Physics

  1. Open Institute of Physics.
  2. Login near the top left corner of the screen or Create Account if you have not already done so.
  3. Perform a search then Add to my Alerts.
  4. To view your existing IOP alerts, go to Search Alerts.

Ovid database: Medline

  1. Open Medline via Ovid
  2. Go to My Account, near the top of the screen.
  3. Login to Ovid (or create a new personal account, if you have not already done so).
  4. Go to Search and enter your criteria.
  5. In the Search History below Actions, go to More - Create Auto Alert. You can also find the Create Auto Alert option underneath the Search history, but you will need to select the specific search that you want to create the saved search for. 
  6. Name your search, select the scheduling for your alerts - e.g. monthly then Save.
  7. To view your existing Ovid alerts, go to View Saved. 

ProQuest databases:

Including Britising Nursing Database, British Periodicals, Literature Online, Performing Arts Periodicals Database and Screen Studies Collection

  1. Open one (or more) of the ProQuest databases.
  2. Sign in near the top right corner of the screen and login to ProQuest (or Create a My Research Account, if you have not already done so).
  3. Perform a search and then select 'Saved search/alert'>'Create alert'.
  4. Name your search and choose the scheduling and duration for your alerts, e.g. one year.
  5. You should receive an e-mail confirmation that your alert has been successfully created.
  6. You can view your existing ProQuest alerts under My Research - Alerts.


  1. Open Sage and sign in (or register if you have not already done so).
  2. Perform a search, then choose Save as Alert from the column on the right hand side.
  3. To view your existing Sage alerts, go to View current email alerts.


  1. Open Scopus and login near the top right corner of the screen (or register if you have not already done so).
  2. Perform a search then choose 'Set Search Alert' above the Refine results options.
  3. Select the frequency, e.g. monthly and choose Create.
  4. To view your existing Scopus alerts, go to My Alerts.

Web of Knowledge databases: Web of Science

  1. Open Web of Science and sign in (or register if you have not already done so).
  2. Perform a search and go to Search History.
  3. Choose the Create Alert box to the left of the search box, and enter a search name in the History Name box.
  4. Check the “Send me e-mail alerts” box and select the frequency, e.g. monthly, and Save.
  5. To view your existing alerts, go to My Saved Searches


Conference papers can provide useful insights about ongoing research in your field before it’s published.

Academic conferences are events, perhaps continuing for two or three days, where people present news about their recent research and findings. Many conferences are held annually, sometimes at a different location each year. The conference organisers often collect the presented papers and publish them as the conference proceedings. Calls for papers alert you to forthcoming conferences, where you might want to present a poster or paper yourself.

You can search for conference papers in both indexing/abstracting databases and full text collections. However, increasingly, many conference papers are circulated freely online in open access archives or conference websites, and can be found using search engines.

Indexes to conference papers

Many subject orientated abstracting databases include conference papers within their coverage, e.g. ERIC, Historical Abstracts and APA PsycInfo. There are also two databases, which provide a multidisciplinary coverage: Web of Science and Scopus.

Web of Science indexes conference papers across STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and medicine) and the social sciences from 1990 onwards. Each conference paper is accompanied by an abstract. To locate them search by relevant keywords. Filter results for 'Document Types'> 'Proceedings Papers'.

Scopus indexes only full-text conference papers. At the moment, they cover almost 8 million conference papers, from a variety of conferences. Conference papers can be found by searching by keyword and then refine the search using the 'Document Type'>'Conference paper'.

Full text conference papers

Three of the Library's databases offer access to full text conference papers:

ACM Digital Library

IEEE/IET Electronic Library

Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Proceedings

The Library also holds various conference proceedings in print. Some of these are shelved with journals (if there is a sequence of proceedings over several years) and some are shelved with books (if the proceedings are only available for one year). To find whether the Library holds the proceedings of a particular conference in print, you should check the catalogue.

Academic staff, who have been research active for a long time, usually have well developed contacts with other researchers in the same field. The term "invisible college" is sometimes used to describe their well honed networks. Contacts are useful for exchanging ideas and learning about research news, before it is published in journals.

If you are relatively new to research, how can you start making these contacts? One way is to identify calls for papers at forthcoming conferences, and then present a poster or paper at one of these conferences. Other options are joining an academic network or mailing list. For effective teaching practices there is the "Higher Education Academy" website to consult.

Calls for papers

Calls for papers alert you to forthcoming conferences and special events, where you might to able to present a poster or paper. Presenting a poster or paper will potentially offer you opportunities to:

  • Disseminate your research to people who are keen to know about it
  • Network with people researching the same or similar topics
  • Receive feedback and suggestions about your research
  • Discuss collaborative ventures with people at other institutions

The Conference Alerts website offers information about current conferences and a monthly conference alerting service.

The ResearchGate website enables networking amongst researchers, and also provides information about current conferences. For more information about ResearchGate, please see the section below.

Academic networking websites

ResearchGate enables networking amongst researchers. Registration involves setting up a personal profie giving details of your education, experience, research interests and publications, which can then be viewed by other members. As well as enabling networking, ResearchGate also provides information about: conferences, jobs and publications. Consulting this information doesn't require registration. ResearchGate claims to have over a million members.

Mailing lists

Sometimes it's easy to feel that you are the only person struggling with a particular problem. One way to feel less isolated is to join an academic e-mailing list, and share your experiences and problems with fellow students and researchers. When you join a list, it's always a good idea to read a few messages, before posting anything yourself. That way you get a feel for the list and are able to see if the list is right for you.

You will find a selection of academic mailing lists at JISCmail, the national academic mail listing service.


Subject centres

Advanced HE promotes effective teaching practices across a wide range of disciplines. Subject centres, based in different UK universities, provide discipline related information about: lecturer resources, learning materials, events, awards & funding etc.