Academic Search Engines for Professional Student Research

Writing papers is par for the course for every student, which means that research is, too. Research helps restore and protect memory and enhances mathematic and problem-solving skills, as well as preparing the mind for a better understanding of concepts and theories. With the vast amount of questionably sourced information on the Internet, it’s hard to know where to turn for quality online research. That’s where these academic search engines come in. Check out our list of comprehensive and reliable academic search engines you can feel confident using for research.


Are you beginning with a broad search? These engines are a great place to start.

ResearchGateAccess over 135 million publication pages and stay up to date with what’s happening in most professional fields.

RefSeek–With more than 1 billion documents, web pages, books, journals, newspapers, and more, RefSeek offers authoritative resources in just about any subject, without all of the mess of sponsored links and commercial results.

Digital Library of the Commons Repository–Check out the DLC to find international literature including free and open access full-text articles, papers, and dissertations.

Microsoft Academic Search–Microsoft’s academic search engine offers access to more than 38 million different publications, with features including maps, graphing, trends, and paths that show how authors are connected.

Google Trends–Google’s super cool search tool will allow you to find searches that correlate with real-world data.

WolframAlpha–Using expert-level knowledge, this search engine doesn’t just find links; it answers questions, does analysis, and generates reports.

BASE–BASE is one of the world’s most voluminous search engines, especially for academic web resources. BASE provides more than 200 million documents from more than 8,000 content providers. You can access the full texts of about 60% of the indexed documents for free (Open Access). BASE is operated by Bielefeld University Library.


Resources like the Library of Congress have considerable archives and documents available, and many of them have taken their collections online. Use these databases and archives to get access to these incredible resources.

Library of Congress–In this incredible library, you’ll get access to searchable source documents, historical photos, and amazing digital collections.

Archives Hub–Find the best of what Britain has to offer in the Archives Hub. You’ll be able to search archives from almost 200 institutions from England, Scotland, and Wales.

National Archives–Check out this resource for access to the National Archives. Find online, public access to find historic documents, research, government information, and more in a single search.

arXiv ePrint Archive–Cornell University’s offers open access to a wealth of e-prints in math, science, and related subjects. Search this resource to find what you need among 1,772,647 documents and counting.

National Agricultural Library–A service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, you can find global information for agriculture in the National Agricultural Library.

Smithsonian Institution Research Information System–Get access to the considerable resources of the Smithsonian Institution through the Research Information System, a great way to search more than 7.4 million records from the Smithsonian’s museums, archives, and libraries.

The British Library Catalogues & Collection–Explore the British Library catalogs, printed materials, digital collections, and even collection blogs for a wealth of resources.

CIA World Factbook–As the center of intelligence, the CIA has certainly done its job with The World Factbook, offering information on major reference information around the world. History, people, government, economy, and more are all covered in this online publication.

State Legislative Websites Directory–Use this database to find information from the legislatures of all 50 U.S. states, DC, and the Territories. You can look up bills, statutes, legislators, and more with this excellent tool.

Catalog of U.S. Government Publications–Search through the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications to find descriptive records for historical and current publications, with direct links where available.

iSEEK Education–iSeek is an excellent targeted search engine, designed especially for students, teachers, administrators, and caregivers. Find authoritative, intelligent, and time-saving resources in a safe, editor-reviewed environment with iSEEK.


Instead of heading to the library to bury your face in the stacks, use these search engines to find out which libraries have the books and journals you need, and maybe even find them available online.

Google Scholar–Check out Google Scholar to find only scholarly resources on Google. The search specializes in articles, patents, and legal documents, and even has a resource for gathering your citations.

Microsoft Academic–Microsoft Academic is a semantic academic search engine powered by Microsoft Academic Graph (MAG) data and Microsoft Academic Knowledge Exploration Service (MAKES) hosted API’s.

Google Books–Supercharge your research by searching this index of the world’s books. You’ll find millions for free and others you can preview to find out if they’re what you’re looking for.

Science Direct–For scientific information only, Scirus is a comprehensive research tool with more than 460 million scientific items including journal content, courseware, patents, educational websites, and more.

Open Library–Find the world’s classic literature, open e-books, and other excellent open and free resources in the Open Library. You can even contribute to the library with information, corrections to the catalog, and curated lists.

Bioline International–Search Bioline International to get connected with a variety of scientific journals. The search is managed by scientists and librarians as a collaborative initiative between Bioline Toronto and the Reference Center on Environmental Information.

Directory of Open Access Journals–When you need top-quality journal writings for free, the Directory of Open Access Journals is a great place to check out. You’ll get access to a searchable journal of full-text quality controlled scientific and scholarly journals.

Jurn–In this curated academic search engine, you’ll get results from over 4,000 free scholarly e-journals in the arts and humanities.

JSTOR–Use this search engine to look up academic articles. As far as academic search engines go, this one is popular in American colleges.


With a focus on science, these academic search engines return all-science, all the time.–In this government science portal, you can search more than 60 databases and 2,200 selected websites across more than 200 million pages and 12 federal agencies. This is an incredible resource for millions of pages of U.S. government science information.

CERN Document Server–This organization for nuclear research serves up a great search and directory for experiments, archives, articles, books, presentations, and so much more within their documents.

WorldWideScience–Use as a global science gateway, offering excellent search results in the sciences, and even the option to select specific databases and find resources in your own language.


Keep your results limited to only the best math and technology resources by using these search engines.

ZMATH Online Database–Zentralblatt MATH’s online database has millions of entries from thousands of serials and journals dating back as far as 1826. Nearly 35,000 items were added in 2012 alone.

Inspec–This database was made for scientists and engineers by the Institution of Engineering and Technology. You’ll find nearly 13 million abstracts and research literature, primarily in the fields of physics and engineering.

The Collection of Computer Science Bibliographies–Find more than 3 million references to journal articles, conference papers, and technical reports in computer science with this bibliography collection.


Researchers working in social sciences like the fields of psychology, anthropology, and related subjects will find great results using these search engines.

Behavioral Brain Science Archive–Check out this searchable archive to find extensive psychology and brain science articles.

Social Science Research Network–In this research network, you can find a wide variety of social science research from a number of specialized networks including cognitive science, leadership, management, and social insurance.

Social Sciences Citation Index–The Thomson Reuters Social Sciences Citation Index is a paid tool, but well worth its cost for the wealth of relevant articles, search tools, and thorough resources available.

Ethnologue–Search the languages of the world with Ethnologue, offering an encyclopedic reference of all the world’s known living languages. You’ll also be able to find more than 28,000 citations in the Ethnologue’s language research bibliography.


Find awesome resources for history through these search engines that index original documents, sources, and archives.

David Rumsey Historical Map Collection–Use the LUNA Browser to check out David Rumsey’s Map Collection with more than 30,000 images, searchable by keyword.

Genesis–Find excellent sources for women’s history with the Genesis dataset and extensive list of web resources.

Fold3–Get access to historical military records through Fold3, the web’s premier collection of original military records and memorials.

Internet Modern History Sourcebook–Use the Internet Modern History Sourcebook to find thousands of sources in modern history. Browse and search to find full texts, multimedia, and more.

Library of Anglo-American Culture and History–Use the history guide from the Library of Anglo-American Culture and History for a subject catalog of recommended websites for historians, with about 11,000 to choose from.

Internet Ancient History Sourcebook–The Internet Ancient History Sourcebook is a great place to study human origins, with full text and search on topics including Mesopotamia, Rome, the Hellenistic world, Late Antiquity, and Christian origins.

History Engine–In this tool for collaborative education and research, students can learn history by researching, writing, and publishing, creating a collection of historical articles in U.S. history that can be searched for here by scholars, teachers, and the general public.


Using these search engines, you’ll get access to business and economics publications, journal articles, and more.

Virtual Library Labour History–Maintained by the International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam, this library offers historians excellent content for learning about economics, business, and more.

EconLit–Visit EconLit to access more than 120 years of economics literature from around the world in an easily searchable format. Find journal articles, books, book reviews, articles, working papers, and dissertations, as well as historic journal articles from 1886 to 1968.

National Bureau of Economic Research–On this site, you can learn about and find access to great resources in economic research.

Research Papers in Economics–Find research in economics and related sciences through the RePEc, a volunteer-maintained bibliographic database of working papers, articles, books, and even software components with more than 1.2 million research pieces.

Corporate Information–Perfect for researching companies, Corporate Information offers an easy way to find corporate financial records.

Inomics–Economists will enjoy this excellent site for finding economics resources, including jobs, courses, and even conferences.

Google Finance–Easily look up stocks with this search engine to monitor the stock market and your portfolio.

EDGAR Search–The SEC requires certain disclosures that can be helpful to investors, and you can find them all here in this helpful, next-generation system for searching electronic investment documents.


Find even more specialized information in these niche academic search engines.

PubMed–From the U.S. National Library of Medicine, PubMed is a great place to find full-text medical journal articles, with more than 19 million available.

Lexis–Find reliable, authoritative information for legal search with the Lexis site.

Education Resources Information Center–In the ERIC Collection, you’ll find bibliographic records of education literature, as well as a growing collection of full-text resources.

MedlinePlus–A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, Medline Plus offers a powerful search tool and even a dictionary for finding trusted, carefully chosen health information.

Semantic Scholar–A free, AI-powered research tool for scientific literature.

Artcyclopedia–Search Artcyclopedia to find everything there is to know about fine art, with 160,000 links, 9,000 artists listed, and 2,900 art sites indexed.


Get connected with great reference material through these search tools.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary and Thesaurus–Use this online dictionary and thesaurus to quickly find definitions and synonyms.–Through, you can get connected with just about every reference tool available, from patents to almanacs.–Need the right thing to say? Check out to reference famous words from famous people.

The Literary Encyclopedia–A library and search database for literature and literary books and documents.

CORE–CORE’s mission is to aggregate all open access research outputs from repositories and journals worldwide and make them available to the public. In this way, CORE facilitates free unrestricted access to research for all.

Allison Green
Boston Tutoring Services

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