Physical Sciences subject guide



E-print services

E-prints are any freely available electronic full-text publication. Pre-prints are early, uncopyrighted versions of journal articles that are later commercially published.

More about pre-prints and pre-print servers

Pre-print servers provide you with full-text pre-publication versions of research articles, that are later submitted for publication in academic journals (thus getting around the issue of copyright). This means you get free access to high quality research papers that differ only slightly from the published version.

Pre-print servers tend to index and store the output of major academic or government funded research institutions. They therefore represent a high quality research resource.

High energy, atomic, nuclear, particle, and astro physics research areas are very strongly represented, and several pre-print servers cover papers in these areas.

The pre-print movement came about as a reaction to the excessive inflation charged by academic science journal publishers, and the illogicity of the research publication process. Universities pay academics to produce research; academics write that research up, and submit it to academic journals for publication, signing away copyright, and with little remuneration by way of return; universities then buy the research back through expensive and highly inflated journal subscriptions.


General sciences


Physics, including, astronomy, computing and mathematics

Grey literature and technical reports

Gray literature is the term given to reports and technical writings that have not been widely or publically published. Many technical reports fall into this category.

General science and technology

  • National Academies Web Search: cross search the web sites of the National Academies (established to advise the US Senate in scientific and technical matters) for documents and reports.
  • POST Publications (Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology): a similar role to the US National Academies, and was set up to provide objective and balanced analyses of science and technology to members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
  • Virtual Technical Reports Center: listing of institutional pages, including many university departments, for technical reports and e-prints. Provided by the library at the University of Maryland.


Aerospace, defence, physics and engineering

  • EnergyFiles: an OSTI resource that allows you to cross search over 500 databases and websites containing science and technology information and resources of interest to the US Department of Energy. Incorporates resources such as:
    • Energy Citations Database: bibliographic records for energy and energy-related scientific and technical information from the US Department of Energy (DOE) and its predecessor agencies, from 1948 onwards. Includes bibliographic records of literature in disciplines such as chemistry, physics, materials, environmental science, geology, engineering, mathematics, climatology, oceanography, computer science and related disciplines. Includes citations to report literature, conference papers, journal articles, books, dissertations, and patents.
  • Information Bridge: full-text and bibliographic records of US Department of Energy (DOE) research and development reports in physics, chemistry, materials, biology, environmental sciences, energy technologies, engineering, computer and information science, renewable energy, and other topics
  • International Atomic Energy Agency: gives details of their publications
  • Los Alamos Reports: page detailing how to extract technical reports from the LANL Catalogue
  • METReS (MAGIC Engineering Technical Reports Service): includes the National Reports Catalogue, but is no longer updated
  • NACA Technical Reports (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics): the precursor to NASA. You can search or browse all citations from 1917-1958.
  • NASA Technical Reports Server: search the many different abstract and technical report servers maintained by various NASA centres and programs.
  • National Technical Information Service: US Department of Commerce central resource for government-funded scientific, technical, engineering, and business related technical reports
  • STINET (Scientific & Technical Information Network): report server of the US Defence Technical Information Centre


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Last Updated: 23/09/2016