Open Access

This week there will be a lot of focus on the 10th International Open Access week. This years theme is an invitation to answer the question of what concrete benefits can be realized by making scholarly outputs openly available.

What is Open Access?

According to Wikipedia it refers to online research outputs that are free of all restrictions on access. Mainly it is a matter of scientific articles and theses but books, research data and meta data can also be included.

To have free access to scientific information means that the author gives everyone the right to read, download, copy and distribute the work in digital form. It has been proved that if you publish your work with Open Access, it will spread faster and is cited more often.

The main methods of Open Access are:

  • Green Open Access or self-archiving as it is sometimes called. It means that the researcher, as soon as the publisher allows can make a refereed and published publication freely available in full text on the Internet.
  • Gold Open Access means that the researcher publishes her/himself on an Open Access publisher. The article or the thesis will then be immediately open and available on the Internet. Sometimes it happens that the publisher charges a fee for this.
  • Hybird Open Access means that articles will be freely available immediately upon publication. The author hase to pay a fee for this.

Text and picture: Tandis Talay

To read scientific texts

We have previously written a number of blog posts about how to find scientific articles, how to avoid plagiarism and how to cite correctly but nothing about how to read the texts that you find. This is also a competence in its own right and it is needed to get something out of the texts.

Scientific texts have often the following structure IMR(A)D, introduction, method, results (analysis), discussion, In this blog post you will get a couple of tips on how to read and better understand them.

Abstract has the purpose of giving you a quick indication whether the article is of interest to you or not. It should contain an aim or purpose for the study, how it is done, which results ar presented and which are the conclusions. The introduction has two purposes: create interest and also to set the study in a general and field specific context though presenting previous research. Method describes which methods are used to answer the questions. It is important to read this part carefully to be able to discuss the validity of the results. Results present what the research data shows and it can be visualised with figures and tables. Discussion contains results set in a context by using the previous research. Discussion aims also to answer the questions which the study aimed to answer.

When you are reading a text, try to find the main points of the text. Maybe you can find what is surprising, unexpected, in contrast of previous results or what is rarely addressed.

When you are reading a scientific text you can think of the following questions:

  • What is the problem this text is trying to answer? Why is it important to answer?
  • Is the used method the best to answer the questions or is there a better method?
  • What are the specific results? Can I summarize them in a couple of sentences?
  • Are the results supported by the research data?
  • Are there other ways to interpret the research data which the authors didn’t address?
  • In which way are the results unique/new/unusual/ or supporting compared to other related research in the area?
  • How can the results be related to what I am interested in? To other texts I’ve read?
  • Are there some specific applications presented in the text? Which future experiments could be done? Are the unanswered questions or does the results open for new questions?

You can also draw inferences. E.g. “Rett Syndrome is a childhood neurodevelopmental disorder and one of the most common causes of mental retardation in females with an incidence of 1 in 10000-15000.”[1] Comment: Hmmm…can it be related to a gene on the X-chromosome since it one of the most common causes in females… How common is that?

You should also take notes while reading. The best case scenario is that you take notes electronically because you probably will find a specific note easier later. You can make your own template or you can use the one we have created for you to use while taking notes (Word 2010). You can download it to your own computer. We have also created a Google Drive document. You can download the template in a couple of different formats (file-> download as).

Pieta Eklund

[1] Ballestar, E., Yusufzai, T.M., & Wolffe, A.P. (2000) Effects of Rett Syndrome Mutations of the Methyl-CpG Binding Domain of the Transcriptional Repressor MeCP2
on Selectivity for Association with Methylated DNA. Biochemistry, 31, 7100-7106

Find scientific articles

We notice in the library’s information points that you students are searching for scientific articles in quite extensively right now. Therefore, we highlight a blog post from last fall on how to go about finding scientific articles in Summon. Enjoy!

Have you been instructed to seek a scientific article and read it, present it, and critically assess it? Have you then had difficulty finding one? You might even think about what a scientific article is. We have written in the blog a few times before, what scientific publishing is as well as source criticism. Scientific articles are short articles that report described the results of scientific studies. It is the communication channel between researchers. The Library has numerous scientific journals containing scientific articles and you must use database search to find them.

First you need to think about what subject you want to find a scientific article about. It does not matter if it is, for example in health care, education, information science, law, or the development of technologies to extract energy from old jeans, you can still start with Summon, one of the library’s search tool.

You should first think about which search terms that may be of interest, therefore, the concept describes the topic you want to find articles within, and start your search with those terms. You can not start your search by searching for “scientific article” for then you will get hits on “how to write a scientific article”, which may not be what you want.

Also note that most of the Librarys available material is in english, which is the communicate language of scientific results, which means that you usually have to do your search in english.


To the left of the results list is something that librarians call facet. These are ways for you to narrow your search. In the picture to the right you will see some options. If you check in “Peer-review” to get hits on articles from scientific publications which means that the material published are examined and found to achieve an academic level. Obviously you still need to do a review of the article, since there are different types of articles, even in journals that are considered to contain scientifically reviewed material. If you select “Scientific Publications“, it means that you limit to material published in peer-reviewed publications but also materials that target audiences in the scientific / academic context. Therefore, the “peer-review publications” is preferable if you are just looking for a scientific article. In the content type, you can choose to limit you to the type of publication eg books / e-book, journal article, patent, etc. There are more facets to choose from and they can further narrow your search.

Text & Picture: Pieta Eklund och Lisa Carlson


How to recognize a scientific paper?

We often get questions from students about scientific articles, what is it? How do you recognize them? Here are some things that might be good to check when you want to make sure that what you found is scientific. This text about scientific papers is primarily written for health care students, but much is the same in different disciplines.

1. Is the article published in a peer reviewed journal? Then, in a so-called “peer reviewed” or “refereed” journal? Sometimes you can narrow down their search to those by making a setting in the database to search in but sometimes you need to check the journal separately and then you can do the following:
a) Read more on the journal’s Web site to find information about the journal’s audience, purpose and potential investigation.

Saras blogginlägg
b) Visit the database Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory, which holds information about journals to see if it is scientific. You’ll find Ulrich’s among the library’s databases. Search for the journal (ie, Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences). The hit list is the peer-reviewed journals are marked with a small icon that is supposed to be a referee shirt, this and more information on the magazine, you can also click the title.

This is what you want to see:

Saras blogginlägg2

Refereed – Yes indicates that the journal is peer reviewed.

Other types of magazines that you may encounter include Trade Journals (trade magazines) and magazines often in the style of Vogue, etc.

2. Once you have established that the journal is scientific, we come to the next step: Is the article itself scientific? Even in peer reviewed journals, there may be other types of content that are not reported research results. It can be book reviews, opinion pieces, columns, etc. Here are some things you can look at to determine if the article is scientific:

– Are the authors researchers?

– Is there an abstract?

– Is the article clearly structured with headings? IMRAD is a common approach in scientific articles and letters refer to the parts that article shall contain:

– Introduction, Methods, Results, (And) Discussion

– Explainations to the results of an empirical study (quantitative or qualitative)?

– Is there a long reference list with plenty of references to other studies?

– Is the language advanced and scientific?

– Is the article longer than a few pages?

– Is there any information that there is “original research”, “research article”, “empirical study”, “clinical trial” or similar?

If you answer yes to most of these questions, you can use the article without having to worry. And you are of course welcome to discuss with us librarians in information point if you are still unsure!

Here is an example of a scientific article from the aforementioned magazine, please check of the questions above:

Dale, B., Soderhamn, U. and Soderhamn, O. (2012), Self-care portability among home-dwelling older people in rural areas in southern Norway. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, 26 (1), ss. 113-122. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-6712.2011.00917.x


Text and picture: Sara Hellberg