Top Academic Search Engines

Top Academic Search Engines


There is a wealth of information available for researchers. But with millions of journal articles, spanning decades and disciplines, it may be tricky to know where to find what you need. The following is a list of the top academic search engines, each with a different focus and specialty, to make your research efforts easier and faster.

1. Google Scholar

Applicable disciplines: All

Google Scholar is a free web search engine that indexes scholarly literature and publications across all academic fields. It includes everything from abstracts, dissertations, journals to books, conference papers, and even patents. Active since 2004, the stated goal of Google Scholar’s founders was “to make the world’s problem solvers 10% more efficient.” Google Scholar is even better than Google Search at searching academic publications through ASEO (Academic Search Engine Optimization), a specialized way of chronicling the works of scholars.


Applicable disciplines: All

CORE is an academic search engine whose founders believe that knowledge should be widely available for the public good. Knowing that many answers to today’s problems already exist buried within academic journals, the founders of CORE sought to use matching algorithms to serve relevant content to seeking scholars.


Applicable disciplines: Science and Technology

Launched in 2002, is a gateway to U.S. government science information. This portal offers free access to federally funded research and development (R&D) results, as well as scientific and technical information from scientific organizations across 13 U.S. federal agencies. makes it possible for users to search over 60 databases, more than 2,200 websites, and over 200 million pages of federal science information in many formats, including full-text documents and multimedia.

4. Semantic Scholar

Applicable disciplines: Science

Semantic Scholar is a free, AI-powered research website for scientific literature based at the Allen Institute for AI. It includes more than 204 million publications. Touted as “scholars writing for scholars”, this academic search engine provides the Semantic Scholar API and Open Resource Corpus as research tools for the academic writing community.

5. ResearchGate

Applicable disciplines: STEM

With access to over 135 million academic articles and a community of 20 million scientists, ResearchGate is a free academic research search engine specializing in STEM fields, especially engineering, mathematics, biology, medicine, physics, climate change, and astrophysics. Scientists who use ResearchGate can examine how often their research is used and discover scholars who are studying similar subjects.

6. PubMed Central

Applicable disciplines: Biomedical Sciences and Life Sciences

PubMed Central is a free academic search database full-text archive of biomedical and life sciences literature with a collection exceeding 7 million. It was developed in 2000 by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) to serve as a digital continuation of the United States National Library of Medicine’s (NLM) resources. Its purpose is to collect and preserve biomedical and life science research from collaborations with publishers, societies, research funders, and international organizations.

7. AMiner

Applicable disciplines: Science

A project led by Dr. Jie Tong of Tsinghua University in Beijing, AMiner, short for ArnetMiner, is an author-centric academic search engine containing more than one billion citations, 333 million publications, and 135 million researcher profiles. This academic search engine uses cutting-edge computer vision, natural language processing, and machine learning. It is one of the most popular databases for scientists and researchers.

8. arXiv

Applicable disciplines: STEM

Based out of Cornell University, arXiv is a free, searchable open-access archive for two million scholarly articles. This academic search engine focuses on STEM fields including math, physics, engineering, computer science, quantitative finance, and economics.

9. ScienceDirect (Elsevier)

Applicable disciplines: Physical Sciences and Engineering, Life Sciences, Health Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities

ScienceDirect is a full-text database offering more than 18 million resources from more than 4,000 academic journals. Of which, it hosts 1.4 million open-access articles for non-subscribers. Some coverage of its 24 subject collections includes biochemistry, genetics and molecular biology, chemistry, clinical medicine, engineering, and veterinary medicine. This academic search engine enables the exploration of scientific, technical, and medical research.

10. Clarivate Web of Science Core Collection

Applicable disciplines: Sciences, Social Sciences, Arts, and Humanities

Following the legacy of Dr. Eugene Garfield, inventor of the world’s first citation index, the Web of Science is touted as a unifying research tool that enables users to acquire, analyze, and disseminate database information efficiently. It is the world’s oldest, most widely used authoritative academic search database of research publications and citations. The Core Collection database has more than 74.8 million total records, including 10.1 million Open Access records from 21,100 unique journals. Notable for breadth and depth of content, academics can search and cite references across 254 disciplines.

11. CrossRef

Applicable disciplines: All

CrossRef is a metadata retrieval system comprising more than 120 million metadata records. It is a free academic resource by a not-for-profit membership organization that seeks to improve scholarly communication and put research information into context by making research objects easier to find, cite, link, assess, and reuse. Users can freely search this academic search engine to discover articles and updates, check citation counts, and more.

12. dblp

Applicable disciplines: Computer Science

Known as the Computer Science Bibliography, dblp (DataBase and Logic Programming) features search functionalities across their academic search database of nearly six million journal articles, conference papers, and computer science-related publications from three million authors. The dblp computer science bibliography provides open bibliographic information from major computer science journals and proceedings. dblp does not include access to articles, but in some cases may link to open access academic search engines like arXiv, where you can download the text yourself. As such, dblp does not feature full-text search, and instead searches only through the publication’s title string.

13. Dimensions

Applicable disciplines: All (publications, grants, clinical trials, patents, datasets, and policy documents)

Dimensions contains more than 100 million publications, ranging from articles published in scholarly journals, books, and book chapters, to preprints and conference proceedings. All publications are contextualized with linked data sets, funding sources, publications, patents, clinical trials, and policy documents. On this academic search engine, you can also view associated categories, funders, institutions, and researcher profiles.

14. ScienceOpen

Applicable disciplines: Science

ScienceOpen is a research website, networking, and discovery platform specializing in smart search and discovery. With interactive features, you’ll find article reviews easily. It includes 75 million publications from 25,000 journals.


Applicable disciplines: Science and Technology (patents)

Lens is a patent data warehouse that simplifies global patent search for scientists and technologists. Lens also provides access to scholarly literature, indexed for ease of search.

Even with all of these academic search engines, it can be difficult to track your research and reference your notes in an organized manner. Petal is a free reference management software designed to minimize manual operations on your most common research tasks. Sign up for free today!