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Scholarly Communication in High Energy Physics (HEP)

Primary Databases

  • ADS Astrophysical Data System
    • Indexes major astronomy and astrophysics journals; many papers in full text
  • AIP Conference Proceedings 
    • Full text proceedings of scientific meetings published by the American Institute of Physics. V. 1 (1970) - present.
  • History of Science, Technology, and Medicine
    • This database includes records of journal articles, conference proceedings, books, dissertations, serials, maps and other related materials.
    • Physics, EE and Computer Science
  • inSPIRE
    • Database of particle physics papers maintained at Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC). Successor to SPIRES.
  • Institute of Physics (IoP) Journals 
    • Search across entire IoP journal archives from 1873 to present.
  • PAM Resources in Physics
    • Produced and maintained by the Physics-Astronomy-Mathematics (PAM) Division of the Special Libraries Association. Includes links to quality websites on people, reference works, and professional information in physics and astronomy.
  • Particle Data Group (PDG)
    • The Particle Data Group is an international collaboration charged with summarizing Particle Physics, as well as related areas of Cosmology and Astrophysics.
  • Physical Reference Data (NIST)
    • The databases include data on fundamental physical constants, atomic and molecular spectroscopy, ionization cross sections, absorption of x-rays and gamma rays, radiation dosimetry, half-life measurements, atomic weights, and condensed matter physics.
    • Full-text journal article and bibliographic database that indexes all American Physical Society journal material published from 1893 to present.
  • Scitation
    • Online access to articles from leading physical sciences publications including journals, conference proceedings, standards, and blogs published by American Institute of Physics (AIP) Publishing and its partners.
  • Scopus
    • General database of articles, books, reports, and patents, 1995 to date
    • High-energy physics literature database, from the library at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center .
  • Web of Science
    • Search for articles, track citations; now includes proceedings

Preprint Databases

Preprints—“temporary documents whose function is to bridge the time-gap created by publication delays” (Goldschmidt-Clermont, 1965, p. 8)

Paul Ginsparg, a physicist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, developed the first preprint archive in August 1991. Originally dedicated to papers in high-energy theoretical physics, took several months to attract 1,000 users; presently it reports from 35,000 to 150,000 visits per day.

Preprint servers are usually hosted at professional societies, government sites, and universities. Disciplines such as astronomy, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, and physics have taken the lead in preprint distribution.

Perhaps because scientists and researchers in these fields possessed the first high-level computers, preprint servers became available and then prevalent in these disciplines. Indeed, for graphically dependent sciences, preprint publication on the Web is preferable to paper journals because of the possibilities for inclusion of audio and video and other intense graphics. E-prints may offer numerous value-added elements, including audio and video, as well as linked references to other documents. (Tomaiuolo et al. 2000)


Information Seeking Behavior

Physicists in HEP rely mostly on searches in subject databases ( for identifying articles they read. The second most used method was searching in Google. The fact that Google was the second used means by which articles were found in the field of HEP might be because of high availability of open access material in HEP that makes everything searchable by general search engines such as Google. In order to keep up-to-date with the developments in HEP they mainly depended on browsing e-print archives, word of mouth and meetings. (Jamali, H., Nicholas, D. 2008)

Preprints & e-prints

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