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Chemistry & Chemical Engineering: Journal articles / papers

Finding journal articles and research papers

Example of a journal cover page: Chemical ScienceWhat are journals 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 the Royal Society of Chemistry journals and archive, the American Chemical Society journals, or ScienceDirect Journals. 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 (on then next tab) instead. The databases cover many more articles and offer better search features.


The following e-journal packages are all useful for finding and accessing articles and papers on chemistry and chemical engineering:

To find a specific e-journal, please check the Library's e-journals A-Z list:

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

Hardcopy journals

If you can't access an article online, this could be because the university doesn't subscribe to the journal in which it was published. In that case, check if the library holds the journal in printed (i.e. hardcopy) format. This is often the case for older journals.

Search for the journal title (not the article title) on the library catalogue. If the library holds the journal in printed format, the catalogue will show you its location and the shelfmark. If you are not sure where to find the journal, please ask for help at one of the Enquiry 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 Borrower Services 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 Enquiry Desks:

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.

For off-campus access please follow the links to e-journals from this guide, from the Library Catalogue, from Article Search or from the library's E-Journals A-Z.

This will enable you to sign in with your QUB ID card details and access e-journals when you are away from campus.

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

Keeping up to date

As journals are published on an ongoing basis, it can be helpful to use literature updating services for keeping track of the latest research papers. The following services are provided by the Royal Society of Chemistry:

Journal title abbreviations

If you only have the abbreviated title of a Chemistry journal and need the full title (or vice versa), try looking it up in CAS Source Index (CASSI).