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Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites. Google Scholar helps you find relevant work across the world of scholarly research.

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Google Scholar aims to rank documents the way researchers do, weighing the full text of each document, where it was published, who it was written by, as well as how often and how recently it has been cited in other scholarly literature.

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How to Find Sources | Scholarly Articles, Books, Etc.

Published on June 13, 2022 by Eoghan Ryan . Revised on May 31, 2023.

It’s important to know how to find relevant sources when writing a  research paper , literature review , or systematic review .

The types of sources you need will depend on the stage you are at in the research process , but all sources that you use should be credible , up to date, and relevant to your research topic.

There are three main places to look for sources to use in your research:

Research databases

  • Your institution’s library
  • Other online resources

Table of contents

Library resources, other online sources, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about finding sources.

You can search for scholarly sources online using databases and search engines like Google Scholar . These provide a range of search functions that can help you to find the most relevant sources.

If you are searching for a specific article or book, include the title or the author’s name. Alternatively, if you’re just looking for sources related to your research problem , you can search using keywords. In this case, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the scope of your project and of the most relevant keywords.

Databases can be general (interdisciplinary) or subject-specific.

  • You can use subject-specific databases to ensure that the results are relevant to your field.
  • When using a general database or search engine, you can still filter results by selecting specific subjects or disciplines.

Example: JSTOR discipline search filter

Filtering by discipline

Check the table below to find a database that’s relevant to your research.

Google Scholar

To get started, you might also try Google Scholar , an academic search engine that can help you find relevant books and articles. Its “Cited by” function lets you see the number of times a source has been cited. This can tell you something about a source’s credibility and importance to the field.

Example: Google Scholar “Cited by” function

Google Scholar cited by function

Boolean operators

Boolean operators can also help to narrow or expand your search.

Boolean operators are words and symbols like AND , OR , and NOT that you can use to include or exclude keywords to refine your results. For example, a search for “Nietzsche NOT nihilism” will provide results that include the word “Nietzsche” but exclude results that contain the word “nihilism.”

Many databases and search engines have an advanced search function that allows you to refine results in a similar way without typing the Boolean operators manually.

Example: Project Muse advanced search

Project Muse advanced search

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You can find helpful print sources in your institution’s library. These include:

  • Journal articles
  • Encyclopedias
  • Newspapers and magazines

Make sure that the sources you consult are appropriate to your research.

You can find these sources using your institution’s library database. This will allow you to explore the library’s catalog and to search relevant keywords. You can refine your results using Boolean operators .

Once you have found a relevant print source in the library:

  • Consider what books are beside it. This can be a great way to find related sources, especially when you’ve found a secondary or tertiary source instead of a primary source .
  • Consult the index and bibliography to find the bibliographic information of other relevant sources.

You can consult popular online sources to learn more about your topic. These include:

  • Crowdsourced encyclopedias like Wikipedia

You can find these sources using search engines. To refine your search, use Boolean operators in combination with relevant keywords.

However, exercise caution when using online sources. Consider what kinds of sources are appropriate for your research and make sure the sites are credible .

Look for sites with trusted domain extensions:

  • URLs that end with .edu are educational resources.
  • URLs that end with .gov are government-related resources.
  • DOIs often indicate that an article is published in a peer-reviewed , scientific article.

Other sites can still be used, but you should evaluate them carefully and consider alternatives.

If you want to know more about ChatGPT, AI tools , citation , and plagiarism , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • ChatGPT vs human editor
  • ChatGPT citations
  • Is ChatGPT trustworthy?
  • Using ChatGPT for your studies
  • What is ChatGPT?
  • Chicago style
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You can find sources online using databases and search engines like Google Scholar . Use Boolean operators or advanced search functions to narrow or expand your search.

For print sources, you can use your institution’s library database. This will allow you to explore the library’s catalog and to search relevant keywords.

It is important to find credible sources and use those that you can be sure are sufficiently scholarly .

  • Consult your institute’s library to find out what books, journals, research databases, and other types of sources they provide access to.
  • Look for books published by respected academic publishing houses and university presses, as these are typically considered trustworthy sources.
  • Look for journals that use a peer review process. This means that experts in the field assess the quality and credibility of an article before it is published.

When searching for sources in databases, think of specific keywords that are relevant to your topic , and consider variations on them or synonyms that might be relevant.

Once you have a clear idea of your research parameters and key terms, choose a database that is relevant to your research (e.g., Medline, JSTOR, Project MUSE).

Find out if the database has a “subject search” option. This can help to refine your search. Use Boolean operators to combine your keywords, exclude specific search terms, and search exact phrases to find the most relevant sources.

There are many types of sources commonly used in research. These include:

You’ll likely use a variety of these sources throughout the research process , and the kinds of sources you use will depend on your research topic and goals.

Scholarly sources are written by experts in their field and are typically subjected to peer review . They are intended for a scholarly audience, include a full bibliography, and use scholarly or technical language. For these reasons, they are typically considered credible sources .

Popular sources like magazines and news articles are typically written by journalists. These types of sources usually don’t include a bibliography and are written for a popular, rather than academic, audience. They are not always reliable and may be written from a biased or uninformed perspective, but they can still be cited in some contexts.

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If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

Ryan, E. (2023, May 31). How to Find Sources | Scholarly Articles, Books, Etc.. Scribbr. Retrieved March 4, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/working-with-sources/finding-sources/

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Search Help

Get the most out of Google Scholar with some helpful tips on searches, email alerts, citation export, and more.

Finding recent papers

Your search results are normally sorted by relevance, not by date. To find newer articles, try the following options in the left sidebar:

  • click "Since Year" to show only recently published papers, sorted by relevance;
  • click "Sort by date" to show just the new additions, sorted by date;
  • click the envelope icon to have new results periodically delivered by email.

Locating the full text of an article

Abstracts are freely available for most of the articles. Alas, reading the entire article may require a subscription. Here're a few things to try:

  • click a library link, e.g., "FindIt@Harvard", to the right of the search result;
  • click a link labeled [PDF] to the right of the search result;
  • click "All versions" under the search result and check out the alternative sources;
  • click "Related articles" or "Cited by" under the search result to explore similar articles.

If you're affiliated with a university, but don't see links such as "FindIt@Harvard", please check with your local library about the best way to access their online subscriptions. You may need to do search from a computer on campus, or to configure your browser to use a library proxy.

Getting better answers

If you're new to the subject, it may be helpful to pick up the terminology from secondary sources. E.g., a Wikipedia article for "overweight" might suggest a Scholar search for "pediatric hyperalimentation".

If the search results are too specific for your needs, check out what they're citing in their "References" sections. Referenced works are often more general in nature.

Similarly, if the search results are too basic for you, click "Cited by" to see newer papers that referenced them. These newer papers will often be more specific.

Explore! There's rarely a single answer to a research question. Click "Related articles" or "Cited by" to see closely related work, or search for author's name and see what else they have written.

Searching Google Scholar

Use the "author:" operator, e.g., author:"d knuth" or author:"donald e knuth".

Put the paper's title in quotations: "A History of the China Sea".

You'll often get better results if you search only recent articles, but still sort them by relevance, not by date. E.g., click "Since 2018" in the left sidebar of the search results page.

To see the absolutely newest articles first, click "Sort by date" in the sidebar. If you use this feature a lot, you may also find it useful to setup email alerts to have new results automatically sent to you.

Note: On smaller screens that don't show the sidebar, these options are available in the dropdown menu labelled "Year" right below the search button.

Select the "Case law" option on the homepage or in the side drawer on the search results page.

It finds documents similar to the given search result.

It's in the side drawer. The advanced search window lets you search in the author, title, and publication fields, as well as limit your search results by date.

Select the "Case law" option and do a keyword search over all jurisdictions. Then, click the "Select courts" link in the left sidebar on the search results page.

Tip: To quickly search a frequently used selection of courts, bookmark a search results page with the desired selection.

Access to articles

For each Scholar search result, we try to find a version of the article that you can read. These access links are labelled [PDF] or [HTML] and appear to the right of the search result. For example:

A paper that you need to read

Access links cover a wide variety of ways in which articles may be available to you - articles that your library subscribes to, open access articles, free-to-read articles from publishers, preprints, articles in repositories, etc.

When you are on a campus network, access links automatically include your library subscriptions and direct you to subscribed versions of articles. On-campus access links cover subscriptions from primary publishers as well as aggregators.

Off-campus access

Off-campus access links let you take your library subscriptions with you when you are at home or traveling. You can read subscribed articles when you are off-campus just as easily as when you are on-campus. Off-campus access links work by recording your subscriptions when you visit Scholar while on-campus, and looking up the recorded subscriptions later when you are off-campus.

We use the recorded subscriptions to provide you with the same subscribed access links as you see on campus. We also indicate your subscription access to participating publishers so that they can allow you to read the full-text of these articles without logging in or using a proxy. The recorded subscription information expires after 30 days and is automatically deleted.

In addition to Google Scholar search results, off-campus access links can also appear on articles from publishers participating in the off-campus subscription access program. Look for links labeled [PDF] or [HTML] on the right hand side of article pages.

Anne Author , John Doe , Jane Smith , Someone Else

In this fascinating paper, we investigate various topics that would be of interest to you. We also describe new methods relevant to your project, and attempt to address several questions which you would also like to know the answer to. Lastly, we analyze …

You can disable off-campus access links on the Scholar settings page . Disabling off-campus access links will turn off recording of your library subscriptions. It will also turn off indicating subscription access to participating publishers. Once off-campus access links are disabled, you may need to identify and configure an alternate mechanism (e.g., an institutional proxy or VPN) to access your library subscriptions while off-campus.

Email Alerts

Do a search for the topic of interest, e.g., "M Theory"; click the envelope icon in the sidebar of the search results page; enter your email address, and click "Create alert". We'll then periodically email you newly published papers that match your search criteria.

No, you can enter any email address of your choice. If the email address isn't a Google account or doesn't match your Google account, then we'll email you a verification link, which you'll need to click to start receiving alerts.

This works best if you create a public profile , which is free and quick to do. Once you get to the homepage with your photo, click "Follow" next to your name, select "New citations to my articles", and click "Done". We will then email you when we find new articles that cite yours.

Search for the title of your paper, e.g., "Anti de Sitter space and holography"; click on the "Cited by" link at the bottom of the search result; and then click on the envelope icon in the left sidebar of the search results page.

First, do a search for your colleague's name, and see if they have a Scholar profile. If they do, click on it, click the "Follow" button next to their name, select "New articles by this author", and click "Done".

If they don't have a profile, do a search by author, e.g., [author:s-hawking], and click on the mighty envelope in the left sidebar of the search results page. If you find that several different people share the same name, you may need to add co-author names or topical keywords to limit results to the author you wish to follow.

We send the alerts right after we add new papers to Google Scholar. This usually happens several times a week, except that our search robots meticulously observe holidays.

There's a link to cancel the alert at the bottom of every notification email.

If you created alerts using a Google account, you can manage them all here . If you're not using a Google account, you'll need to unsubscribe from the individual alerts and subscribe to the new ones.

Google Scholar library

Google Scholar library is your personal collection of articles. You can save articles right off the search page, organize them by adding labels, and use the power of Scholar search to quickly find just the one you want - at any time and from anywhere. You decide what goes into your library, and we’ll keep the links up to date.

You get all the goodies that come with Scholar search results - links to PDF and to your university's subscriptions, formatted citations, citing articles, and more!

Library help

Find the article you want to add in Google Scholar and click the “Save” button under the search result.

Click “My library” at the top of the page or in the side drawer to view all articles in your library. To search the full text of these articles, enter your query as usual in the search box.

Find the article you want to remove, and then click the “Delete” button under it.

  • To add a label to an article, find the article in your library, click the “Label” button under it, select the label you want to apply, and click “Done”.
  • To view all the articles with a specific label, click the label name in the left sidebar of your library page.
  • To remove a label from an article, click the “Label” button under it, deselect the label you want to remove, and click “Done”.
  • To add, edit, or delete labels, click “Manage labels” in the left column of your library page.

Only you can see the articles in your library. If you create a Scholar profile and make it public, then the articles in your public profile (and only those articles) will be visible to everyone.

Your profile contains all the articles you have written yourself. It’s a way to present your work to others, as well as to keep track of citations to it. Your library is a way to organize the articles that you’d like to read or cite, not necessarily the ones you’ve written.

Citation Export

Click the "Cite" button under the search result and then select your bibliography manager at the bottom of the popup. We currently support BibTeX, EndNote, RefMan, and RefWorks.

Err, no, please respect our robots.txt when you access Google Scholar using automated software. As the wearers of crawler's shoes and webmaster's hat, we cannot recommend adherence to web standards highly enough.

Sorry, we're unable to provide bulk access. You'll need to make an arrangement directly with the source of the data you're interested in. Keep in mind that a lot of the records in Google Scholar come from commercial subscription services.

Sorry, we can only show up to 1,000 results for any particular search query. Try a different query to get more results.

Content Coverage

Google Scholar includes journal and conference papers, theses and dissertations, academic books, pre-prints, abstracts, technical reports and other scholarly literature from all broad areas of research. You'll find works from a wide variety of academic publishers, professional societies and university repositories, as well as scholarly articles available anywhere across the web. Google Scholar also includes court opinions and patents.

We index research articles and abstracts from most major academic publishers and repositories worldwide, including both free and subscription sources. To check current coverage of a specific source in Google Scholar, search for a sample of their article titles in quotes.

While we try to be comprehensive, it isn't possible to guarantee uninterrupted coverage of any particular source. We index articles from sources all over the web and link to these websites in our search results. If one of these websites becomes unavailable to our search robots or to a large number of web users, we have to remove it from Google Scholar until it becomes available again.

Our meticulous search robots generally try to index every paper from every website they visit, including most major sources and also many lesser known ones.

That said, Google Scholar is primarily a search of academic papers. Shorter articles, such as book reviews, news sections, editorials, announcements and letters, may or may not be included. Untitled documents and documents without authors are usually not included. Website URLs that aren't available to our search robots or to the majority of web users are, obviously, not included either. Nor do we include websites that require you to sign up for an account, install a browser plugin, watch four colorful ads, and turn around three times and say coo-coo before you can read the listing of titles scanned at 10 DPI... You get the idea, we cover academic papers from sensible websites.

That's usually because we index many of these papers from other websites, such as the websites of their primary publishers. The "site:" operator currently only searches the primary version of each paper.

It could also be that the papers are located on examplejournals.gov, not on example.gov. Please make sure you're searching for the "right" website.

That said, the best way to check coverage of a specific source is to search for a sample of their papers using the title of the paper.

Ahem, we index papers, not journals. You should also ask about our coverage of universities, research groups, proteins, seminal breakthroughs, and other dimensions that are of interest to users. All such questions are best answered by searching for a statistical sample of papers that has the property of interest - journal, author, protein, etc. Many coverage comparisons are available if you search for [allintitle:"google scholar"], but some of them are more statistically valid than others.

Currently, Google Scholar allows you to search and read published opinions of US state appellate and supreme court cases since 1950, US federal district, appellate, tax and bankruptcy courts since 1923 and US Supreme Court cases since 1791. In addition, it includes citations for cases cited by indexed opinions or journal articles which allows you to find influential cases (usually older or international) which are not yet online or publicly available.

Legal opinions in Google Scholar are provided for informational purposes only and should not be relied on as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed lawyer. Google does not warrant that the information is complete or accurate.

We normally add new papers several times a week. However, updates to existing records take 6-9 months to a year or longer, because in order to update our records, we need to first recrawl them from the source website. For many larger websites, the speed at which we can update their records is limited by the crawl rate that they allow.

Inclusion and Corrections

We apologize, and we assure you the error was unintentional. Automated extraction of information from articles in diverse fields can be tricky, so an error sometimes sneaks through.

Please write to the owner of the website where the erroneous search result is coming from, and encourage them to provide correct bibliographic data to us, as described in the technical guidelines . Once the data is corrected on their website, it usually takes 6-9 months to a year or longer for it to be updated in Google Scholar. We appreciate your help and your patience.

If you can't find your papers when you search for them by title and by author, please refer your publisher to our technical guidelines .

You can also deposit your papers into your institutional repository or put their PDF versions on your personal website, but please follow your publisher's requirements when you do so. See our technical guidelines for more details on the inclusion process.

We normally add new papers several times a week; however, it might take us some time to crawl larger websites, and corrections to already included papers can take 6-9 months to a year or longer.

Google Scholar generally reflects the state of the web as it is currently visible to our search robots and to the majority of users. When you're searching for relevant papers to read, you wouldn't want it any other way!

If your citation counts have gone down, chances are that either your paper or papers that cite it have either disappeared from the web entirely, or have become unavailable to our search robots, or, perhaps, have been reformatted in a way that made it difficult for our automated software to identify their bibliographic data and references. If you wish to correct this, you'll need to identify the specific documents with indexing problems and ask your publisher to fix them. Please refer to the technical guidelines .

Please do let us know . Please include the URL for the opinion, the corrected information and a source where we can verify the correction.

We're only able to make corrections to court opinions that are hosted on our own website. For corrections to academic papers, books, dissertations and other third-party material, click on the search result in question and contact the owner of the website where the document came from. For corrections to books from Google Book Search, click on the book's title and locate the link to provide feedback at the bottom of the book's page.

General Questions

These are articles which other scholarly articles have referred to, but which we haven't found online. To exclude them from your search results, uncheck the "include citations" box on the left sidebar.

First, click on links labeled [PDF] or [HTML] to the right of the search result's title. Also, check out the "All versions" link at the bottom of the search result.

Second, if you're affiliated with a university, using a computer on campus will often let you access your library's online subscriptions. Look for links labeled with your library's name to the right of the search result's title. Also, see if there's a link to the full text on the publisher's page with the abstract.

Keep in mind that final published versions are often only available to subscribers, and that some articles are not available online at all. Good luck!

Technically, your web browser remembers your settings in a "cookie" on your computer's disk, and sends this cookie to our website along with every search. Check that your browser isn't configured to discard our cookies. Also, check if disabling various proxies or overly helpful privacy settings does the trick. Either way, your settings are stored on your computer, not on our servers, so a long hard look at your browser's preferences or internet options should help cure the machine's forgetfulness.

Not even close. That phrase is our acknowledgement that much of scholarly research involves building on what others have already discovered. It's taken from Sir Isaac Newton's famous quote, "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."

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The top list of academic search engines

academic search engines

1. Google Scholar

4. science.gov, 5. semantic scholar, 6. baidu scholar, get the most out of academic search engines, frequently asked questions about academic search engines, related articles.

Academic search engines have become the number one resource to turn to in order to find research papers and other scholarly sources. While classic academic databases like Web of Science and Scopus are locked behind paywalls, 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 free academic search engines.

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 lets you find research papers for all academic disciplines for free but also often provides links to full-text PDF files.

  • 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

BASE is hosted at Bielefeld University in Germany. That is also where its name stems from (Bielefeld Academic Search Engine).

  • Coverage: approx. 136 million articles (contains duplicates)
  • Abstracts: ✔
  • Related articles: ✘
  • References: ✘
  • Cited by: ✘
  • Export formats: RIS, BibTeX

Search interface of Bielefeld Academic Search Engine aka BASE

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
  • Links to full text: ✔ (all articles in CORE are open access)
  • Export formats: BibTeX

Search interface of the CORE academic search engine

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

  • Coverage: approx. 200 million articles and reports
  • Links to full text: ✔ (available for some databases)
  • Export formats: APA, MLA, RIS, BibTeX (available for some databases)

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From Breakthroughs to Best Practices: How NIMH Transforms Research Into Real-World Care

Patricia Arean, Susan Azrin, Michael Freed, Adam Haim, Jennifer Humensky, Stephen O’Connor, Jane Pearson, Mary Rooney, Matthew Rudorfer, Joel Sherrill, and Belinda Sims, on behalf of the Division of Services and Intervention Research. 

February 26, 2024 • 75th Anniversary

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For 75 years, NIMH has transformed the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research—bringing hope to millions of people. This Director’s Message, guest written by NIMH’s Division of Services and Intervention Research , is part of an anniversary series celebrating this momentous milestone.

More than one in five adults in the United States live with a mental illness, and this number is expected to rise in the coming decades. Since its establishment, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has known that people need more than exciting scientific discoveries—they need access to effective treatments and the best quality of care available. After all, finding new treatments and cures means little to the millions of people impacted by mental illnesses if there is no way to translate these breakthroughs into policy and practice.

In the Division of Services and Intervention Research (DSIR) , we provide the critical link between basic and clinical science and explore the best practices to implement those evidence-based treatments. We’re dedicated to growing and investing in this field of science, and although much work is still to be done, we’ve had some notable successes impacting real-world public health practices and policies.

Improving outcomes for people with early psychosis

A depiction of the Coordinated Specialty Care Model.

One example of research that has bridged the divide between science and policy is the Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode , or RAISE, studies. Research has shown that young people with schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders have much better outcomes when they receive effective treatment within months of their first symptoms. The RAISE studies, which NIMH supported, focused on methods to detect and treat early psychosis in a timelier fashion. These studies found that a type of care called coordinated specialty care (CSC)—a recovery-oriented, team-based approach to treating early psychosis—was more effective than the typical care used at the time.

A map showing the number of Coordinated Specialty Care programs in each U.S. state.

NIMH engaged extensively with members of the early schizophrenia care community to ensure RAISE findings would be relevant and actionable for rapid translation into practice. These efforts created the momentum for the broad expansion of CSC treatment programs nationwide. In 2023, the creation of associated billing codes further supported this model of mental health care, allowing for increased adoption by care providers.

From CSC programs in two states in 2008, the United States now has more than 360 such programs, allowing more people to receive this evidence-based care.

Removing barriers to schizophrenia treatment

Clozapine, the only drug approved for treatment-resistant schizophrenia, is underutilized in the United States, particularly among African American communities. Many reasons have been linked to this disparity, including provider bias, lack of trust in the mental health care system for African American clients, and an overprescribing of first-generation antipsychotic medication for African Americans with schizophrenia. Additionally, clozapine has been associated with an increased risk of the onset or exacerbation of neutropenia, a condition that affects white blood cells and impairs the body’s ability to fight infection. Benign ethnic neutropenia is a chronic form of neutropenia that's present from birth and commonly seen in people of African descent.

In 2015, NIMH supported a large, multinational study  that investigated the use of clozapine in individuals of African descent who have benign neutropenia  . Individuals with treatment-resistant schizophrenia who had benign neutropenia had previously been declared ineligible to receive clozapine treatment due to the Food and Drug Administration’s prescribing guidelines related to this medication. The finding of this NIMH-supported study opened up clozapine treatment to a whole new group of individuals with schizophrenia, allowing them to benefit from this important medication.

The ECHO model. Courtesy of Project ECHO.

Building upon these findings, NIMH is currently funding research that evaluates the effectiveness of an educational program for clinicians about clozapine  . Hundreds of prescribers and clinicians throughout the state of Maryland are participating in an innovative educational tele-mentoring program that connects them with centralized experts. The prescribing activity of clinicians participating in the educational program will be compared with those who have not participated to see if the program is effective at increasing the use of clozapine among those who would benefit from it.

Given the real-world context of this study, the findings can potentially inform clinical practice and make a needed treatment more accessible to many African Americans.

Preventing mental illnesses in youth

Recognizing that many mental health conditions have their origins early in life, NIMH has supported several seminal studies showing the effectiveness of interventions designed to prevent conduct disorder and other behavioral conditions in youth. These include evaluations of a classroom-wide behavioral intervention called the Good Behavior Game   , a school-home wraparound intervention called Fast Track  , and a brief family-based intervention for toddlers called Family Check-up  .

Today, NIMH continues to support the analysis of data from participants in these studies who have been followed into adulthood   . Initial results from these longitudinal analyses show sustained effects of the interventions on conduct disorder and unanticipated positive impacts on other mental health outcomes, such as reductions in adolescent and adult depression, anxiety, and suicide risk, thus demonstrating the broad and enduring effects of early prevention efforts.

Early intervention represents an important pathway to making quality care accessible to everyone, particularly when embedded within a broader approach that addresses social determinants of health . NIMH is currently supporting research that tests strategies to improve access to prevention services, including primary care-based depression prevention for adolescents  and mental illness prevention for at-risk Latinx youth  .

Suicide prevention in emergency departments

ED-SAFE study phases. Courtesy of Boudreaux, E. D. & ED-SAFE investigators.

An estimated 20% of people who die by suicide visit the emergency department in the 60 days before their death, making these settings an important target for suicide prevention efforts. Given the importance of emergency departments as a place to identify and provide support for people at risk for suicide, NIMH has supported research establishing the effectiveness of suicide prevention services in these settings.

An example of this research is the multisite Emergency Department Safety Assessment and Follow-up Evaluation (ED-SAFE) study. ED-SAFE demonstrated  that providing universal screening for suicide risk and a brief safety planning intervention in emergency departments, combined with limited follow-up contacts once people had been discharged, decreased subsequent suicide attempts by 30% compared to usual care.

A follow-up study also supported by NIMH, called ED-SAFE 2  , tested the integration of universal screening for suicide risk and safety planning into the clinical workflow of eight emergency departments. Study results  indicated that integration of this clinical workflow resulted in sustained reductions in suicide deaths and subsequent acute health care visits.

These landmark studies convey the power of providing relatively brief, well-timed interventions during emergency encounters to reduce the risk of later suicide. NIMH continues to fund research to expand the reach of emergency department-based interventions, including the use of digital health technologies and strategies to overcome workforce shortages and other barriers to implementing suicide screening and intervention (for instance, digital technology to increase the reach of ED-SAFE  ; a multi-component, tailored strategy for suicide risk reduction  ). NIMH works closely with public and private partners to take recent data, like those collected during the ED-SAFE studies, and help translate them into real-world practice   .

Moving forward

The studies and projects shared here are only a few examples of exciting areas of investment that have resulted in real-world changes in care. Although we’ve made progress, we recognize the need to continue supporting research with near-term potential and cultivating a vibrant workforce to lead the next generation of services and intervention research.

Further, NIMH is committed to working with researchers, communities, payors, advocacy groups, state policymakers, federal agencies, and others to help support intervention and services science that will significantly impact mental health policy and care practices—ultimately helping people access better mental health care.

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Illustration of a 56-megawatt Form Energy battery system, a huge lot with 128 cargo-container-sized units neatly placed in a rectangular grid

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In 2016, at the huge Houston energy conference CERAWeek, MIT materials scientist Yet-Ming Chiang found himself talking to a Tesla executive about a thorny problem: how to store the output of solar panels and wind turbines for long durations.        

Chiang, the Kyocera Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, and Mateo Jaramillo, a vice president at Tesla, knew that utilities lacked a cost-effective way to store renewable energy to cover peak levels of demand and to bridge the gaps during windless and cloudy days. They also knew that the scarcity of raw materials used in conventional energy storage devices needed to be addressed if renewables were ever going to displace fossil fuels on the grid at scale.

Energy storage technologies can facilitate access to renewable energy sources, boost the stability and reliability of power grids, and ultimately accelerate grid decarbonization. The global market for these systems — essentially large batteries — is expected to grow tremendously in the coming years. A study by the nonprofit LDES (Long Duration Energy Storage) Council pegs the long-duration energy storage market at between 80 and 140 terawatt-hours by 2040. “That’s a really big number,” Chiang notes. “Every 10 people on the planet will need access to the equivalent of one EV [electric vehicle] battery to support their energy needs.”

In 2017, one year after they met in Houston, Chiang and Jaramillo joined forces to co-found Form Energy in Somerville, Massachusetts, with MIT graduates Marco Ferrara SM ’06, PhD ’08 and William Woodford PhD ’13, and energy storage veteran Ted Wiley.

“There is a burgeoning market for electrical energy storage because we want to achieve decarbonization as fast and as cost-effectively as possible,” says Ferrara, Form’s senior vice president in charge of software and analytics.

Investors agreed. Over the next six years, Form Energy would raise more than $800 million in venture capital.

Bridging gaps

The simplest battery consists of an anode, a cathode, and an electrolyte. During discharge, with the help of the electrolyte, electrons flow from the negative anode to the positive cathode. During charge, external voltage reverses the process. The anode becomes the positive terminal, the cathode becomes the negative terminal, and electrons move back to where they started. Materials used for the anode, cathode, and electrolyte determine the battery’s weight, power, and cost “entitlement,” which is the total cost at the component level.

During the 1980s and 1990s, the use of lithium revolutionized batteries, making them smaller, lighter, and able to hold a charge for longer. The storage devices Form Energy has devised are rechargeable batteries based on iron, which has several advantages over lithium. A big one is cost.

Chiang once declared to the MIT Club of Northern California, “I love lithium-ion.” Two of the four MIT spinoffs Chiang founded center on innovative lithium-ion batteries. But at hundreds of dollars a kilowatt-hour (kWh) and with a storage capacity typically measured in hours, lithium-ion was ill-suited for the use he now had in mind.

The approach Chiang envisioned had to be cost-effective enough to boost the attractiveness of renewables. Making solar and wind energy reliable enough for millions of customers meant storing it long enough to fill the gaps created by extreme weather conditions, grid outages, and when there is a lull in the wind or a few days of clouds.

To be competitive with legacy power plants, Chiang’s method had to come in at around $20 per kilowatt-hour of stored energy — one-tenth the cost of lithium-ion battery storage.

But how to transition from expensive batteries that store and discharge over a couple of hours to some as-yet-undefined, cheap, longer-duration technology?

“One big ball of iron”

That’s where Ferrara comes in. Ferrara has a PhD in nuclear engineering from MIT and a PhD in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of L’Aquila in his native Italy. In 2017, as a research affiliate at the MIT Department of Materials Science and Engineering, he worked with Chiang to model the grid’s need to manage renewables’ intermittency.

How intermittent depends on where you are. In the United States, for instance, there’s the windy Great Plains; the sun-drenched, relatively low-wind deserts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada; and the often-cloudy Pacific Northwest.

Ferrara, in collaboration with Professor Jessika Trancik of MIT’s Institute for Data, Systems, and Society and her MIT team, modeled four representative locations in the United States and concluded that energy storage with capacity costs below roughly $20/kWh and discharge durations of multiple days would allow a wind-solar mix to provide cost-competitive, firm electricity in resource-abundant locations.

Now that they had a time frame, they turned their attention to materials. At the price point Form Energy was aiming for, lithium was out of the question. Chiang looked at plentiful and cheap sulfur. But a sulfur, sodium, water, and air battery had technical challenges.

Thomas Edison once used iron as an electrode, and iron-air batteries were first studied in the 1960s. They were too heavy to make good transportation batteries. But this time, Chiang and team were looking at a battery that sat on the ground, so weight didn’t matter. Their priorities were cost and availability.

“Iron is produced, mined, and processed on every continent,” Chiang says. “The Earth is one big ball of iron. We wouldn’t ever have to worry about even the most ambitious projections of how much storage that the world might use by mid-century.” If Form ever moves into the residential market, “it’ll be the safest battery you’ve ever parked at your house,” Chiang laughs. “Just iron, air, and water.”

Scientists call it reversible rusting. While discharging, the battery takes in oxygen and converts iron to rust. Applying an electrical current converts the rusty pellets back to iron, and the battery “breathes out” oxygen as it charges. “In chemical terms, you have iron, and it becomes iron hydroxide,” Chiang says. “That means electrons were extracted. You get those electrons to go through the external circuit, and now you have a battery.”

Form Energy’s battery modules are approximately the size of a washer-and-dryer unit. They are stacked in 40-foot containers, and several containers are electrically connected with power conversion systems to build storage plants that can cover several acres.

The right place at the right time

The modules don’t look or act like anything utilities have contracted for before.

That’s one of Form’s key challenges. “There is not widespread knowledge of needing these new tools for decarbonized grids,” Ferrara says. “That’s not the way utilities have typically planned. They’re looking at all the tools in the toolkit that exist today, which may not contemplate a multi-day energy storage asset.”

Form Energy’s customers are largely traditional power companies seeking to expand their portfolios of renewable electricity. Some are in the process of decommissioning coal plants and shifting to renewables.

Ferrara’s research pinpointing the need for very low-cost multi-day storage provides key data for power suppliers seeking to determine the most cost-effective way to integrate more renewable energy.

Using the same modeling techniques, Ferrara and team show potential customers how the technology fits in with their existing system, how it competes with other technologies, and how, in some cases, it can operate synergistically with other storage technologies.

“They may need a portfolio of storage technologies to fully balance renewables on different timescales of intermittency,” he says. But other than the technology developed at Form, “there isn’t much out there, certainly not within the cost entitlement of what we’re bringing to market.”  Thanks to Chiang and Jaramillo’s chance encounter in Houston, Form has a several-year lead on other companies working to address this challenge. 

In June 2023, Form Energy closed its biggest deal to date for a single project: Georgia Power’s order for a 15-megawatt/1,500-megawatt-hour system. That order brings Form’s total amount of energy storage under contracts with utility customers to 40 megawatts/4 gigawatt-hours. To meet the demand, Form is building a new commercial-scale battery manufacturing facility in West Virginia.

The fact that Form Energy is creating jobs in an area that lost more than 10,000 steel jobs over the past decade is not lost on Chiang. “And these new jobs are in clean tech. It’s super exciting to me personally to be doing something that benefits communities outside of our traditional technology centers.

“This is the right time for so many reasons,” Chiang says. He says he and his Form Energy co-founders feel “tremendous urgency to get these batteries out into the world.”

This article appears in the Winter 2024 issue of Energy Futures , the magazine of the MIT Energy Initiative.

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Marijuana use as little as once per month linked to higher risk of heart attack and stroke

Using marijuana as little as once per month is associated with a higher risk of both heart attack and stroke, according to a large study published Wednesday by researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital. The risks rose sharply the more frequently marijuana was used. 

The paper, which was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting marijuana may be harmful to the cardiovascular system. 

Scientists analyzed data on nearly 435,000 patients, ages 18 to 74, to see whether there was a link between marijuana use and a higher risk of heart disease, stroke or heart attack. The data came from a behavioral risk factor survey collected from 2016 to 2020 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Compared with people who had never used marijuana, daily cannabis users had 25% higher likelihood of heart attacks and 42% higher risk of strokes. People who used marijuana just once a week had a 3% increased likelihood of a heart attacks and 5% higher risk of strokes during the study time frame.

The study is among the largest to show a connection between marijuana use and cardiovascular health in people who don’t also smoke tobacco, said lead researcher Abra Jeffers, a data scientist at Massachusetts General Hospital. 

Nearly 75% of people in the study reported smoking as the most common way they got high. They also consumed edibles and vaped. The study did not specifically look at the risks of smoking marijuana compared to edibles.  

It’s unclear from the paper whether marijuana directly causes heart attacks and strokes or whether people who are already at risk are more likely to use it. 

Historically, some have dismissed studies looking at marijuana and heart problems because participants often use both tobacco and marijuana products, making it hard to determine which substance is really to blame, Jeffers said.

Robert Page, a clinical pharmacist who specializes in heart disease at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy, is worried about the emerging connections between marijuana consumption and the heart. Page was the lead author of a comprehensive statement on cannabis released by the American Heart Association in 2020.

“I think we’re beginning to see the same things we saw with smoking cigarettes back in the ’50s and ’60s — that this is a signal,” Page said. “I feel like we’re repeating history.”

Ultimately, it will take more rigorous studies to draw any firm conclusion, he said, which would involve following people for years and monitoring their marijuana use. That type of research is difficult to conduct because marijuana is still a Schedule 1 substance under the Controlled Substances Act. 

What if I just use marijuana occasionally? 

The new research found that the risks of heart attacks and strokes became higher the more days per month people used marijuana, which is called a “dose-response relationship.”

“If something is really bad or a toxin, you’d expect more of it to be worse,” said Dr. Deepak Bhatt, the director of Mount Sinai Fuster Heart Hospital in New York, who was not involved with the research. “The fact that there’s a dose response makes it seem like it probably is, in fact, the cannabis that is causing the bad outcome.”

The president of the American Heart Association, Dr. Joseph Wu, the director of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute, drew a comparison to other common substances. 

“It’s the same dose response as somebody who smoked tobacco or as somebody who drinks alcohol,” he said. “The more you drink, the more problems you are going to have, because these are toxins.”

Ultimately, the researchers concluded that the people who really should be avoiding marijuana smoking altogether are those with pre-existing heart disease, estimated at 1 in 20 Americans. 

That marijuana is associated with heart problems is a very urgent message for Americans to be aware of, Wu said, as 1 in 5 people over age 12 now report having used marijuana in the last year, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health . 

“Just because something’s been legalized doesn’t mean it’s safe,” he said.

Are edibles safer?

Smoking was the most common way cannabis was consumed in the new paper, although edibles are not necessarily safe, either.

“If you force me to answer I would say not smoking is a better way of consuming it,” Bhatt said. “When you smoke things, that makes them more toxic, but that doesn’t mean that we can say it’s definitely safe to consume it as an edible.”

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Laboratory studies have shown that THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, can cause an increase in inflammation in the blood vessels, so edibles aren’t necessarily risk-free, Wu said.

“If you’re smoking marijuana it’s probably doing double the damage compared to just using edibles,” Wu said. “When you eat the edible, the THC goes into your body and can cause vascular inflammation. Whereas when you smoke, there is damage from the particulate matter and then the THC gets absorbed into your body, as well.” 

It’s not yet known why smoking marijuana affects the cardiovascular system, but there are a few possibilities, Bhatt said.  

A phenomenon called oxidative stress, an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body, can cause inflammation and damage to blood vessels. Other reasons could include marijuana’s triggering abnormal heart rhythms or even activating platelets, cells in the body that can make blood more likely to clot, leading to a heart attack or stroke. 

Should young healthy people be concerned?

The paper found that among younger adults, defined as men younger than 55 and women younger than 65, cannabis use was significantly associated with 36% higher combined odds of coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke, regardless of whether or not they also used traditional tobacco products. 

“I’ve seen it through the years with clinical practice many times where sometimes we bang our heads thinking, ‘Why [is] this person in their 20s, or 30s or 40s [coming] in with a heart attack?” Bhatt said. While it can often be attributed to things like extremely high cholesterol or cocaine use, he said, sometimes there’s only one factor they have in common. 

“The only thing I can find after asking and asking again and again in terms of potential risk factors is marijuana,” he said. “So the smart thing to do would be not to smoke marijuana, but I realize it’s extremely popular and that’s advice that may not be well received by all.”

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Akshay Syal, M.D., is a medical fellow with the NBC News Health and Medical Unit. 

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Old documents and books stored on shelves in a library's archive.

A study identified more than two million articles that did not appear in a major digital archive, despite having an active DOI. Credit: Anna Berkut/Alamy

More than one-quarter of scholarly articles are not being properly archived and preserved, a study of more than seven million digital publications suggests. The findings, published in the Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication on 24 January 1 , indicate that systems to preserve papers online have failed to keep pace with the growth of research output.

“Our entire epistemology of science and research relies on the chain of footnotes,” explains author Martin Eve, a researcher in literature, technology and publishing at Birkbeck, University of London. “If you can’t verify what someone else has said at some other point, you’re just trusting to blind faith for artefacts that you can no longer read yourself.”

Eve, who is also involved in research and development at digital-infrastructure organization Crossref, checked whether 7,438,037 works labelled with digital object identifiers (DOIs) are held in archives. DOIs — which consist of a string of numbers, letters and symbols — are unique fingerprints used to identify and link to specific publications, such as scholarly articles and official reports. Crossref is the largest DOI registration agency, allocating the identifiers to about 20,000 members, including publishers, museums and other institutions.

The sample of DOIs included in the study was made up of a random selection of up to 1,000 registered to each member organization. Twenty-eight percent of these works — more than two million articles — did not appear in a major digital archive, despite having an active DOI. Only 58% of the DOIs referenced works that had been stored in at least one archive. The other 14% were excluded from the study because they were published too recently, were not journal articles or did not have an identifiable source.

Preservation challenge

Eve notes that the study has limitations: namely that it tracked only articles with DOIs, and that it did not search every digital repository for articles (he did not check whether items with a DOI were stored in institutional repositories, for example).

Nevertheless, preservation specialists have welcomed the analysis. “It’s been hard to know the real extent of the digital preservation challenge faced by e-journals,” says William Kilbride, managing director of the Digital Preservation Coalition, headquartered in York, UK. The coalition publishes a handbook detailing good preservation practice.

“Many people have the blind assumption that if you have a DOI, it’s there forever,” says Mikael Laakso, who studies scholarly publishing at the Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki. “But that doesn’t mean that the link will always work.” In 2021, Laakso and his colleagues reported 2 that more than 170 open-access journals had disappeared from the Internet between 2000 and 2019.

Kate Wittenberg, managing director of the digital archiving service Portico in New York City, warns that small publishers are at higher risk of failing to preserve articles than are large ones. “It costs money to preserve content,” she says, adding that archiving involves infrastructure, technology and expertise that many smaller organizations do not have access to.

Eve’s study suggests some measures that could improve digital preservation, including stronger requirements at DOI registration agencies and better education and awareness of the issue among publishers and researchers.

“Everybody thinks of the immediate gains they might get from having a paper out somewhere, but we really should be thinking about the long-term sustainability of the research ecosystem,” Eve says. “After you’ve been dead for 100 years, are people going to be able to get access to the things you’ve worked on?”

doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-024-00616-5

Eve, M. P. J. Libr. Sch. Commun. 12 , eP16288 (2024).

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Laakso, M., Matthias, L. & Jahn, N. J. Assoc. Inf. Sci. Technol. 72 , 1099–1112 (2021).

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