How to find the science paper behind a headline when the link is missing

I just saw a pretty wild statistic on Twitter that less than 60% of university news releases link to the papers they are describing.

 

Before you believe anything your read about science in the news, you need to go and find the original article.  When the article isn’t linked in the press release, sometimes you need to do a bit of sleuthing.  Here is an example of how I do it for a news article. In general the press-release approach is very similar, but you skip the first step I describe below.

Here is the news article (link):

 

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 1.11.22 PM

 

 

Step 1: Look for a link to the article

Usually it will be linked near the top or the bottom of the article. In this case, the article links to the press release about the paper. This is not the original research article. If you don’t get to a scientific journal you aren’t finished. In this case, the press release actually gives the full title of the article, but that will happen less than 60% of the time according to the statistic above.

 

Step 2: Look for names of the authors, scientific key words and journal name if available

You are going to use these terms to search in a minute. In this case the only two things we have are the journal name:

Untitled presentation (2)

 

And some key words:

 

Untitled presentation (3)

 

Step 3 Use Google Scholar

You could just google those words and sometimes you get the real paper, but often you just end up back at the press release/news article. So instead the best way to find the article is to go to Google Scholar then click on the little triangle next to the search box.

 

 

 

Untitled presentation (4)

Fill in information while you can. Fill in the same year as the press release, information about the journal, university and key words.

 

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 1.31.38 PM

 

Step 4 Victory

Often this will come up with the article you are looking for:

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 1.32.45 PM

 

Unfortunately, the article may be paywalled, so if you don’t work at a university or institute with a subscription, you can always tweet the article name with the hashtag [I just saw a pretty wild statistic on Twitter that less than 60% of university news releases link to the papers they are describing.

 

Before you believe anything your read about science in the news, you need to go and find the original article.  When the article isn’t linked in the press release, sometimes you need to do a bit of sleuthing.  Here is an example of how I do it for a news article. In general the press-release approach is very similar, but you skip the first step I describe below.

Here is the news article (link):

 

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 1.11.22 PM

 

 

Step 1: Look for a link to the article

Usually it will be linked near the top or the bottom of the article. In this case, the article links to the press release about the paper. This is not the original research article. If you don’t get to a scientific journal you aren’t finished. In this case, the press release actually gives the full title of the article, but that will happen less than 60% of the time according to the statistic above.

 

Step 2: Look for names of the authors, scientific key words and journal name if available

You are going to use these terms to search in a minute. In this case the only two things we have are the journal name:

Untitled presentation (2)

 

And some key words:

 

Untitled presentation (3)

 

Step 3 Use Google Scholar

You could just google those words and sometimes you get the real paper, but often you just end up back at the press release/news article. So instead the best way to find the article is to go to Google Scholar then click on the little triangle next to the search box.

 

 

 

Untitled presentation (4)

Fill in information while you can. Fill in the same year as the press release, information about the journal, university and key words.

 

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 1.31.38 PM

 

Step 4 Victory

Often this will come up with the article you are looking for:

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 1.32.45 PM

 

Unfortunately, the article may be paywalled, so if you don’t work at a university or institute with a subscription, you can always tweet the article name with the hashtag](https://twitter.com/hashtag/icanhazpdf) and your contact info. Then you just have to hope that someone will send it to you (they often do).

 

 

 
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