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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 Article 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:

Print Journals

Hardcopies of science and engineering journals which were published after 1980 are shelved in the Journal Back Issues Area on Floor 3 of the McClay Library.

Hardcopies of science and engineering journals which were published before 1981 are kept in the library store. Please ask at one of the library's Enquiry Desks, if you wish to consult any of them.


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. A key resource for finding journal articles and conference proceedings in 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.

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

Web of Science gives access to citation databases, journals and conference proceedings with current and retrospective coverage in the sciences, engineering, social sciences, arts, and humanities. A good complement to Scopus.

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

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

The Compendex backfile is great for finding engineering journal articles and conference papers which were published between 1884 and 1969. Search Scopus or the Web of Science for more recent papers.

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. MathSciNet video tutorials

ABI/Inform Global is a comprehensive business database providing access to a wide range of journals and working paper series in full text. Useful for researching commercial aspects of electronics, electrical engineering, computer science and IT. ABI/Inform Global guide

Business Source Premier provides access to the online full text of over 2000 business journals. It also includes company information and market research literature. A great database for researching commercial aspects of electronics, electrical engineering, computer science and IT.

Off-campus access

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

For off-campus access please follow the links to the databases from this guide or from the Library catalogue or the library's Databases A-Z list.

This will enable you to authenticate with your QUB ID card details and use the databases and e-journals when you are away from campus.

If you have queries about accessing e-books, e-journals or databases from off-campus, check our e-resources guide, or contact your subject librarian, Irene Bittles (email: