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Database Guides: SciELO Citation Index

Information about using the various databases in the A-Z Online Resources,


What is it?

SciELO (Scientific Electronic Library Online) covers research articles from Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico), Spain, Portugal, the Caribbean and South Africa. It covers many subject areas:

Agricultural sciences;
Applied social science;
Biological sciences;
Exact and earth sciences;
Health sciences;
Linguistics, letters and arts;
Social sciences

Materials date from 1997 onwards and the database is updated weekly.

Approximately 650 journals are contained in SciELO (around 200 of which are not covered by Web of Science Core Collection and around 300 not covered by Web of Science) and it contains over 6 million cited references.

All materials contained in SciELO come from peer reviewed open access journals, so all the content is freely available. Simply click on the Full Text button that appears in each record to view your chosen article. A large proportion of the articles are not available in English - but regardless of the article language each record has an English language Title, Abstract and Keywords.

SciELO can be searched in English, Spanish or Portuguese: choose your language setting on the right handside of the menu bar at the top of the screen.

SciELO is a program of the Sao Paulo Research Foundation for the cooperative publishing of open access journals on the internet. It is supported by the National Council of Scientific and Technological Development and is a partnership with the Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information.


What is it for?

Use SciELO to get a more complete global picture by discovering new insights from research in Latin America, Spain, Portugal, the Caribbean and South Africa.  Search and immediately view the full text of important regional content with international impact to get a comprehensive picture of the influencers and drivers of regional research.


How to access it

Login to the Portal and then choose SciELO Citation Index from the A-Z List of online resources.

How to search

You are automatically placed in the Basic Search screen so you can carry out a Topic, Author search, etc.  To select a different type of search, for example a Cited Reference Search, choose the down arrow next to Basic Search above the Search box.


From the Basic Search screen select the type of search you wish to conduct from the drop-down box
e.g. Use the TOPIC box to carry out subject keyword searching.

AND searches (to narrow the search), e.g., aquaculture AND pollution

OR searches (to broaden the search), e.g., vaccination OR immunisation

PHRASE search will find 2 or more words coming together in that order - need to use " " (quotation marks), e.g., "bovine spongiform encephalopathy "

Truncation: Use $ (dollar) to search for plurals eg., gene$ will find gene or genes but not genetic or general. use $ (dollar) within a word eg., colo$r will find color or colou
Use * at the end of a word to find all words beginning with those letters, eg., vaccin* will find vaccine, vaccines, vaccination, vaccinate, etc.,

Combining Searches: Click on the Search History button from the top toolbar. This takes you to a page which lists the searches you have conducted during the current session.  Combine sets together by marking the appropriate set numbers and selecting either AND or OR, then click on Combine.

Refining Results: Use the Refine Results section at the left hand side of the results screen to refine your search.

For example:

Refine by Languages: Use Languages to refine your results to articles in a specific language.  This may be particularly useful in SciELO since, as well as articles in English, many of the articles are only available in Portuguese or Spanish.

Refine by SciELO Categories: Use SciELO Categories to refine your results to broad subject areas.  See the full list of SciELO Categories.

Refine by Research Areas:  Use Research Areas to refine your results to specific fields of study. See the full list of SciELO Research Areas.

Refine by SciELO Collection:  Use Research Areas to refine your results to a specific SciELO Collection (Argentina, Brazil or Chile).

Alternatively, you can select your SciELO Collection before you search: on the basic search page, select SciELO Collection from the Topic drop-down box.  In the search box you will see the list of Collections.  Click on your desired Collection to highlight it. Then click on Add another field and enter your search terms (you must combine the Collection search with another search).  Then click on Search.


CITED REFERENCE SEARCH: Citation searching allows you to find articles that have quoted a given article in their bibliography. This type of search needs to be done using all the years of the database- choose the down arrow next to Basic Search above the Search box and choose Cited Reference Search. Make sure the Citation Index you want to search and all the years are selected.

Then enter the author’s name in the Cited Author box in the form: hastings g* - the author’s last name is entered first and you can use truncation for authors who may have middle initials. Then put in the year that the article was written in the Cited year box: e.g. 2010. It is advisable to leave the other box blank as authors are sometimes inconsistent and inaccurate in their citations. Click on the Search button.

The cited references found appear on the next screen. To see all the authors who cited the article you are interested in you will need to select the check box(es) and then click on the Finish Search button. The next screen will have a list of all the articles that cite your selected reference.


Full text?

All materials contained in SciELO come from open access journals, so all the articles are available in full text.  Click on the Full Text button that displays under each brief record to view the full-text. Or in the detailed record display click on the Full Text button that appears above the record on the left hand side.



Records can be downloaded into RefWorks (a software product for managing references and formatting bibliographies).


Further help

For help, click on the Help option in the top right handside of the SciELO screens.  Also see the video below.


Marking records for printing and downloading

Results are displayed in summary format, up to ten items are displayed per page. To go to another page of results, click the navigation arrows or type a page number.

To see the full record of an item in the results listing, click on the record title.

SciELO results: You can mark items from the results listing screen by selecting the checkbox next to record(s) and then selecting Add to Marked List at the top right hand side of the records listing. Then select Marked List on the far right hand side of the grey menu bar above the results.  From the Marked List screen you can choose to print, email or output your records to bibliographic management software (such as RefWorks): choose the Print or Email icons or choose your bibliographic software in the Send to drop down menu.

SciELO Citation Index video

Link to SciELO