Time for another group test of search tools offering various forms of free full-text access. The search term I used for the test was: “frontier thesis”, an influential idea which has been well chewed over and widely used, since being presented in Turner’s famous “The Significance of the Frontier in American History” (1893). The chosen test may favour JURN slightly, since JURN is perhaps overly strong in the field of history. On the other hand, and as a counterweight, this test also favours general academic search-engines able to cover fields such as geography, politics, and economics.

Results from looking for relevant full-text articles or book chapters, not theses or dissertations, in:

Zero | Google Scholar (examined the first four pages of results, and was not counting links to JSTOR, or Muse or pages via Google Books).

Zero | DOAJ (searched at the article level)

Zero | JournalTOCS (searched ‘articles by keywords’)

Zero | IngentaConnect (had only two results)

Zero | JournalSeek

Zero | AOlib

Zero | Rock Your Paper

1 | Mendeley (searched papers) (zero results, but then tried on: frontier thesis turner and examined first 10 results)

1 | Scirus

1 | Microsoft Academic Search (examined the first two pages of results)

1 | Journal Database (had only four results. Site seems to be basically a reformatted rip of the old static DOAJ, with most of the humanities missing?)

5 | OpenDOAR (examined the first 20 results)

10 | BASE (searched verbatim, no “”) (BASE is now able to filter results by journal articles — examined the first 20 of these filtered results)

20 | JURN (examined the first 20 results)


* Although not included in the above list, a search of Google News once again gave a small number of interesting and relevant results from serious-minded sources: A Daily Telegraph review of the popular biographical survey book The Men Who United the States; a long free excerpt from the new book “The Petropolis of Tomorrow” (on cities which form around resource extraction) from Archinect journal; and a New York Times obituary, “Andro Linklater, Who Re-Examined American Frontierism, Dies at 68”.

* It’s excellent to see that the repository search engine BASE is now able to filter results by ‘type: journal articles’, and is even able to further filter by ‘known open access’ (although the latter currently works very poorly). So far as I know BASE is the first repository search tool to add this useful feature.

* It’s interesting to note that, unlike other academic search tools, JURN‘s search results don’t collapse into irrelevance by the second or third page of results (so long as the initial search was well formed).

* Why no Open J-Gate or FindArticles.com in the above list? They died a couple of years ago. It’s also been announced that Scirus is being abandoned in January 2014.