The top list of academic search engines

For many researches academic search engines have become the number one resource to turn in order to find research papers and other scholarly sources. While classic academic databases like Web of Science and Scopus are looked behind pay walls, Google Scholar and others can be accessed free of charge. In order to help you get your research done fast, we have compiled the top list of academic search engines.

1. Google Scholar

Google Scholar is the clear number one when it comes to academic search engines. It's the power of Google searches applied to research papers and patents. It not only let's you find research papers for all academic disciplines for free, but also often provides links to full text PDF file.

  • Coverage: approx. 200 million articles
  • Abstracts: only a snippet of the abstract is available
  • Related articles: ✔
  • References: ✔
  • Cited by: ✔
  • Links to full text: ✔
  • Export formats: APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard, Vancouver, RIS, BibTeX
Search interface of Google Scholar
Google Scholar: fast, free and contains millions of research papers

2. Microsoft Academic

It's Microsoft answer to Google Scholar. Microsoft Academic takes a different approach and generates for each paper that is indexed an overview page that allows to easily explore top citing articles and references of the article.

  • Coverage: approx. 210 million articles
  • Abstracts: ✔
  • Related articles: ✔
  • References: ✔
  • Cited by: ✔
  • Links to full text: ✔
  • Export formats: APA, MLA, BibTeX
Search interface of Microsoft Academic
Microsoft Academic: the 2018 update comes with brand new design and functionality

3. BASE

BASE is hosted at Bielefeld University in Germany and that's where it name stems from (Bielefeld Academic Search Engine).

  • Coverage: approx. 136 million articles (contains duplicates)
  • Abstracts: ✔
  • Related articles: ✘
  • References: ✘
  • Cited by: ✘
  • Links to full text: ✔
  • Export formats: RIS, BibTeX
Search interface of Bielefeld Academic Search Engine aka BASE
BASE: combines the entries from thousands of institutional repositories in one place

4. CORE

CORE is an academic search engine dedicated to open access research papers. For each search result a link to the full text PDF or full text web page is provided.

  • Coverage: approx. 136 million articles
  • Abstracts: ✔
  • Related articles: ✔
  • References: ✘
  • Cited by: ✘
  • Links to full text: ✔ (all articles in CORE are open access)
  • Export formats: BibTeX
Search interface of the CORE academic search engine
CORE: the best is that all those 135+ million papers can be accessed for free

5. Science.gov

Science.gov is a fantastic resources as it bundles and offers free access to search results from more than 15 U.S. federal agencies. There is no need any more to query all those resources separately!

  • Coverage: approx. 200 million articles and reports
  • Abstracts: ✔
  • Related articles: ✘
  • References: ✘
  • Cited by: ✘
  • Links to full text: ✔ (available for some databases)
  • Export formats: APA, MLA, RIS, BibTeX (available for some databases)
Search interface of Science.gov
Science.gov: one resource to access millions of papers and reports from several federal agencies

6. Semantic Scholar

Semantic Scholar is the new kid on the block. It's mission is to provide more relevant and impactful search results using AI powered algorithms that find hidden connections and links between research topics.

  • Coverage: approx. 40 million articles
  • Abstracts: ✔
  • Related articles: ✔
  • References: ✔
  • Cited by: ✔
  • Links to full text: ✔
  • Export formats: APA, MLA, Chicago, BibTeX
Search interface of Semantic Scholar
Semantic Scholar: AI-powered paper search to find you the one you are looking for

7. Baidu Scholar

Although Baidu Scholar's interface is in Chinese it's index contains research papers in English as well as Chinese.

  • Coverage: no detailed statistics available, approx. 100 million articles
  • Abstracts: only snippets of the abstract are available
  • Related articles: ✔
  • References: ✔
  • Cited by: ✘
  • Links to full text: ✔
  • Export formats: APA, MLA, RIS, BibTeX
Search interface of Baidu Scholar
Baidu Scholar: the interface is in Chinese, but - hey - there is Google Translate!