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Electronics, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science: Journal articles / papers

Finding journal articles and research papers

What are journal articles?

A journal is a specific type of academic publication. Like magazines, new parts of journals are published regularly throughout the year. Typically this could be monthly, biannually (twice a year) or quarterly (every three months). Each of the parts of a journal is referred to as a journal "issue". Individual journal issues are often grouped together into annual journal "volumes".

Each journal issue contains a collection of articles, which are short pieces of academic writing. Articles are written by academics from universities and other research institutions and they provide information about current research and teaching.

Finding journal articles:

If you want to do a quick and simple search for journal articles, use Library Search or an ejournal package such as ScienceDirect, IEEE Xplore or the ACM Digital Library. They will usually allow you to access the articles online immediately.

If you want to do a comprehensive search of the research literature, you should use one or more of the key databases instead. The databases cover many more articles and offer better search features.


The Library's major electrical engineering and computer science e-journals packages are:

To find a specific e-journal, please check the Library's Journal Search:

Alternatively, you can search Library Search. This can save you time, as Library Search searches many of the university's subscribed e-journals simultaneously.

Off-campus access

Signing in to e-journals from home:

The library's e-journals and databases can be accessed both on and off-campus.

When you are working from off-campus, please follow the links to e-journals from this guide or from Library Search. This will enable you to sign in with your QUB ID card details and access e-journals.

If you have queries about accessing e-journals or other e-resources from home, please contact your subject librarian, Irene Bittles (email:

The following might also be helpful:

  • the library's e-resource access guide shows how to sign in to e-books, e-journals and databases from home
  • alternatively, try out the Lean Library browser extension to access all types of e-resources off campus. See information at the bottom of this box. Click the Embed QUB Library in your browser button to install the Lean Library extension in your browser.
  • if you like searching Google Scholar, you can set it up to access full-text articles from home
  • you can also install the QUB Library proxy bookmarklet in your browser for easier off-campus access to e-resources
Unlock access to academic papers!
Thanks to Queen's University Belfast Library and their partnership with Lean Library you now have the ability to easily find full text content wherever and whenever you decide to study. And it's FREE!

Hardcopy journals

If you can't access an article online, this could be because the university doesn't subscribe to the e-journal in which it was published. Check if the library holds the journal in printed format (also known as "hardcopy") instead. This is often the case for older journals.

Search for the journal title (not the article title) on Library Search. If the library holds the journal in printed format, Library Search will show you its location. If you are not sure where to find the journal, please ask for help at one of the Information Desks.

Please note:

  • Hardcopies of chemistry and chemical engineering journals published from 1981 to the present are shelved in the Journals Area on Floor 3 of the McClay Library.
  • Journal volumes which were published before 1981 are kept in the Library Store. Please ask at the information desk on the ground floor of the McClay Library if you wish to consult any of them.

Printed journals are shelved on mobile shelving. The video below shows how you can operate the mobile shelves. If you would like help with this, please ask at one of the Information Desks:


For a comprehensive search of the research literature use one or more of the key databases (below).

The databases allow you to find information about articles and papers, but often they do not include the PDFs of the articles. You can use the QConnect service to link to the full-text of articles and papers in the library's subscriptions.

Please note: The key databases cover many more items than are included in the Library's subscriptions. If you find a paper which you cannot access online because the library doesn't subscribe to it, you may be able to request a copy via the Inter-Library Loans service.


Scopus is the world's largest bibliographic and citation database. It is a key resource for finding journal articles and conference proceedings in all engineering and science disciplines. As well as carrying out literature searches, you can set up current awareness alerts, view citation counts, determine your h-index and assess the impact of journal titles. Scopus is a good complement to the Web of Science database (see below).

Access Scopus

The makers of Scopus provide a range of online video tutorials explaining the features and functionality of this database, including:

Web of Science

The Web of Science is an extensive bibliographic and citation database. It covers key academic journals from computer science, electronics and electrical engineering and other engineering and science disciplines. The Web of Science is a great source of information on academic journal articles and conference papers. It is a good complement to Scopus (see above).

Access Web of Science

What is the Web of Science Core Collection? Quick Reference Guide (PDF)

The makers of Web of Science provide a range of video tutorials on YouTube, explaining the features and functionality of this database, including:

Inspec Archive (1898 - 1968)

The Inspec Archive helps you discover journal articles and conference papers about computer science, electronics and electrical engineering which were published between 1898 and 1968. To find more recent literature, search Scopus, the Web of Science or IEEE Xplore.

Access the Inspec Archive via the Engineering Village platform (tick the Inspec Archive box)

Ei Compendex Backfile (1884 to 1969)

The Ei Compendex Backfile is useful when you need to find older journal articles and conference papers, which were published between 1884 and 1969. It covers all areas of engineering and includes many papers which are not listed in Scopus or the Web of Science. Search Scopus or the Web of Science if you need to find more recent papers.

Access Ei Compendex Backfile via the Engineering Village platform (tick the Ei Backfile box)

Other databases which you might find useful:

MathSciNet provides an index of international research literature in mathematics, including math-related research in computer science. It is produced by the American Mathematical Society.

Access Math SciNet

A Guide to Searching with MathSciNet

Business Source Premier provides access to more than 2,000 business journals. It is useful when you need to research commercial aspects of electronics, electrical engineering, computer science and IT. Business Source Premiere includes journal articles, case studies, company information, SWOT analyses and market research literature. PDFs of many indexed sources are available for download.

Access Business Source Premier

ABI/Inform Global is a comprehensive business database providing access to a wide range of journals and working paper series. Like Business Source Premier (see above) ABI/Inform Global is useful for researching commercial aspects of electronics, electrical engineering, computer science and IT. PDFs of many indexed sources are available for download.

Access ABI/Inform Global

ABI/Inform Global guide