I haven’t been a student for many years. When I was in school at first we used portals like

  • Science Direct
  • Elsevier
  • Galileo

Next, Google Scholar came out and seemed to be a superset of all of those, so it was the best when I left off.

I was on a phone call with a university class a couple of years ago and they told me there was some newer “meta portal” (my term) that was along the same lines but even better than Google Scholar. I can’t recall the name and it’s not obvious which one it is when I try to figure it out by searching the web.

  • 7
    When I began reading your first sentence (e.g. "for many years"), I was expecting you to mention things like bibliographies of papers relevant to your interests, library stacks, department reading room, etc., but not JSTOR and Science Direct! Oct 22, 2020 at 18:50
  • 3
    I'm not aware of any database search that is equivalent yet better than Google Scholar (except perhaps Scihub, which is illegal). But to help people help you, please specify your academic discipline because some disciplines have special databases that serve them better.
    – Tripartio
    Oct 23, 2020 at 7:06
  • 1
    Web of Science is very useful (if your institution/employer has access to it)
    – Superbee
    Oct 23, 2020 at 20:03
  • 1
    Honestly, the search tool that helps me the most is just plain-vanilla Google.
    – JeffE
    Oct 24, 2020 at 14:26
  • 2
    @Tripartio I’m not asking you to tell me what I might of heard, I’m asking for the name of portals that are more comprehensive than Google Scholar which came into widespread use in academia since I left (which therefore might be the same as what a group of college students and professors were telling about). Respectfully, I think it was objective and within scope.
    – Hack-R
    Oct 24, 2020 at 17:21

1 Answer 1


Web of Science is a subscription-based citation database that came out shortly after Google Scholar. I can't compare it to other services such as JSTOR and Galileo (which I have never tried) but at least anecdotally I find it to be better in some respects compared to Google Scholar (better UI and more trustworthy citation counts, at least in my field). However it is subscription-based so whether or not you have access will depend on your employer/institution.

Edit -- There is another citation tool that I feel is criminally underutilized so I feel compelled to promote it. The arXiv has a fantastic browser add-on called the arXiv Bibliographic Explorer which provides detailed information about citations for nearly every article on the arXiv. Even though this is not directly related to your question, I have found it to be an extremely useful tool that not many people know about, so it deserves mention.

  • I doubt Galileo is still around. It was a state funded tool in the state of Georgia.
    – Hack-R
    Oct 24, 2020 at 17:24
  • @Hack-R galileo.usg.edu
    – Bob Brown
    Oct 24, 2020 at 19:40
  • More comments on Web of Science: launched 1997 (according to the box that comes up when you google it; can't find that info elsewhere). That box also says "90 million +" records indexed. Google Scholar didn't come out until 2004 (Wikipedia). GS does full-text search, IIRC WoS only does keyword/etc. GS is crippled in some ways (downloads, sort by date, etc). Also: see this comparison of GS/Scopus/WoS
    – Ben Bolker
    Oct 26, 2020 at 0:07
  • @BenBolker Thanks for pointing out it came out in 1997 and not "shortly after Google Scholar" as I indicated in my answer. That was based on the earliest archived snapshot I could find on the Wayback Machine
    – Superbee
    Oct 26, 2020 at 1:33
  • For the history buffs among us, as discussed on the Wikipedia page etc., WoS goes back to the ISI Science citation index. An online version was available in the UK as early as 1991. sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/016975529290038R
    – Ben Bolker
    Oct 26, 2020 at 2:17

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