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I'm not sure whether this is the right place to be asking such a question, but here goes...

I'm a final-year Computer Science student looking towards researching a project idea. However, when it comes to finding academic papers and relevant journals every single website I come across seems to be restricted apart from the Citeseer one (PSU?). I want to find relevant journals and papers within certain areas of Computer Science.

Can anyone here provide me with some tips for finding suitable research material for a Computer Science project?

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The simple fact is that this is how many academic journals work.

You might consider using your University library, many have both electronic and hardcopy journal subscriptions, and most decent ones will have systems like Lexis Nexis available. This sort of thing is a huge reason for Uni libraries in the modern age.

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Your school will normally have a subscription to IEEE, Citeseer, Google Scholar, ACM and the various research paper controlled resources. You might have to use the computers on campus to access the information. Check with your libraries or your department administrators. They normally do not just make the information open to all because of cost involved keeping up the subscriptions (from what I hear, they are not cheap).

I know this is kind of frustrating at first. I had a similar experience. Most accredited schools should have access to this information for you. You just got to find out who has access and how to access it.

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This may be less efficient than what you'd prefer, but if you find a paper that you don't have access to, first:

  1. Look up the author's website and see if they provide a PDF to download. This is especially common in CS
  2. Contact the corresponding author (or just the first author if it's not clear) and ask if they will send you a copy. They are almost always happy to do this.
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Using the advanced search of scholar you can restrict the search to a specific area such as "Engineering, Computer Science, and Mathematics"

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  • I've tried this, but many of the sites the papers are found on are unavailable to me.
    – Mike B
    Nov 11 '09 at 22:06
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As others have noted, you should try your college/university library. I'd hope they'd have a subscription to either the paper or electronic version of the journals in question. Also, some large technical employers have technical libraries, so if you have a job outside of school at such a place (or a friend with such a job), you might try there.

If the paper was in a journal put out a professional organization (e.g. ACM or IEEE) and you are a (student) member, you may be able to access the paper via the organization's web site. If you aren't a member, maybe one of your professors is. Caveat: Sometimes you need a subscription to the specific journal or the organization's "library" to get a copy of the article.

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