Top 7 Academic Research Databases Online

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The internet continues transforming all areas of our lives, including science and education. It isn’t easy to imagine how the previous generation had to go to the library to read multiple books to get the information. In contrast, nowadays, students and researchers just need to insert their questions into the search bar. All of the academic knowledge became digital and led to the appearance of well-structured academic research database that we can access from our laptops online.

Why Do You Need Online Databases?

Writing an academic paper takes extensive work that needs to be supported by scientific research already conducted before us. For that, every student or a paper writing service need to have access to these science works to determine which facts were proven by science and which were denounced. This is why we use citations to support every statement in every paper – to prove that it is supported by facts and not by intuition.

Online databases have revolutionized research. The information became more accessible. These days, everyone who has access to the Internet can find scientific research, and students should take advantage of this.

Every database has a search engine helping you to look for works on a certain topic of the authors you are interested in. It is sufficient to just enter a few words into the search bar of one of the databases to find almost everything that has ever been written on this subject matter or you can even create your own database or information portal.

However, databases are numerous. In this list, we gathered the most trusted ones and the ones containing as much information as possible.

Top Academic Databases


Google Scholar is not exactly a database, but a search engine, just like Google. But it gathers peer-reviewed research from multiple sources, which makes it easy, available and a one-stop-shop. It is intuitive and does not need additional instruction to understand. You can search for articles on any topic, sort them by relevance and year of publication.

Google Scholar is a research aggregator containing the data from databases such as JSTOR, Elsevier, and others cited below. You can use it as the first step of your research without worrying that the information will be fake. Most works are peer-reviewed, and their credibility is higher as compared to a regular Google search. The latter shows results on random websites that can be created with no control, so anyone can write there basically anything.


The Journal Storage was created 25 years ago, the name is self-explanatory. JSTOR collects full texts of scientific pieces of research as well as some books in soft sciences. The subscription is paid but you can request access through a public library or your university. However, some works are accessible without a subscription. Also, you can use the Register & Read option, which permits you to read up to 6 articles every month free of charge, although they will not be available for downloading or printing.


Scopus is a database of academic works and their citations. Its owner and distributor is Elsevier, a leading resource in the scientific domain founded in 1880 in the Netherlands. It annually publishes about a quarter of all articles in world scientific journals.

In 1999, the publishing house created the Sciencedirect platform, an online database of the publishing house’s resources, which has become an important information resource for the international scientific research community. The Scopus database was created on the basis of Sciencedirect in 2002. Scopus covers research literature from around the world as well as quality online sources with powerful tools for tracking, analyzing and visualizing research.


Web of Science (WoS) is the leading international abstract database of scientific publications. Web of Science covers science, technology, social sciences, humanities, and the arts. However, the registration in the database is authorized only from the computers in educational institutions. After that, access to the resource is possible from home. If you are looking for a particular work, you can check the title list before going to your library to access the full article.


This database offers the function of semantic search, which means it can categorize your search request. For example, by typing “papers Harvard management,” the system will be looking for papers (type of work), published in the University of Harvard (source) about management (topic).

Microsoft Academic Research contains almost 250 million works covering a diverse range of topics and disciplines. The great advantage of this platform is that it is accessible to everyone. However, 2 types of subscriptions are offered to access the material offline and create applications.


Unlike the databases cited above, Directory of Open Access Journal (DOAJ) is completely free of charge as it exists due to donations and is not owned by any for-profit companies. It goes without saying that all of the articles here are peer-reviewed. This is a good option for those who can not be given access to a larger database by their college or university.


Covering approximately 15 million items, ScienceDirect is yet another source of peer-reviewed journals, articles and ebooks. It gathers open-access resources that can be found on other platforms or websites as well.

In addition to these multidisciplinary sources, you can also look for the information in specialized databases of knowledge, for example, PubMed for medicine, ERIC for education, IEEE Xplore for computer science and engineering.

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