How to Navigate the Astro Literature, Part 1

So you want to learn about current astrophysics research? You’re in luck! Not only are there many excellent blogs, pretty much all of the peer reviewed literature is out there accessible for free. In many areas of science, the actual papers are behind paywalls and very expensive to access. Astrophysics, like a few other areas of physics and mathematics, puts most papers on the arxiv.org preprint server where they are all available for download form anywhere. In addition, we have a very powerful search tool in the form of the NASA Astrophysics Data System which allows you to perform complex searches and queries across the literature.

Suppose you wanted to learn more about the green peas, one of our citizen science-led discoveries. Your first stop could be the ADS:

ADS, like any search engine, will now scour the literature for papers with the words “green peas”, “green” and “peas” in it, and return the results:

As you can see, the discovery paper of the peas, “Cardamone et al. (2009)” is not the first hit. That’s because in the meantime there has been another paper with “green peas” in the title. You can click on Cardamone et al. and find out more about the paper:

This is just the top of the page but it already contains a ton of information. Most importantly, the page has a link to the arxiv (or astro-ph) e-print (highlighted). Clicking there will get you to the arxiv page of the paper where you can get the full paper PDF.

Also there is a list of paper which are referencing Cardamone et all, at the moment 23 papers do so. By clicking on this link you can get a list of these papers. Similarly, just below, you can get a list of paper that Cardamone et al. is referencing.

Lower still are links to NED and SIMBAD, two databases of astronomy data. The numbers in the brackets indicate that SIMBAD knows 90 objects mentioned in the paper, and NED knows 88. By clicking on them, you can go find out what those databases know about the objects in Cardamone et al. (i.e. the peas).

Obviously there’s a lot more, but just with the arxiv and NASA ADS you can search and scour the astrophysics literature with pretty much no limits. Happy resarching!

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11 responses to “How to Navigate the Astro Literature, Part 1”

  1. rick nowell says :

    Thanks for the lesson. Unfortunately, not all citations are listed. In the GPs citations, the Izotov paper ‘Green Pea Galaxies and cohorts’ was not listed (2011ApJ…728..161I ). So using http://adsabs.harvard.edu/adsfeedback/submit_missing_references.html, hopefully a citation will soon be added. Strange there was no citation for this important paper.

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/nph-ref_query?bibcode=2009MNRAS.399.1191C&refs=CITATIONS&db_key=AST

  2. Rick N. says :

    Thanks for the lesson. Unfortunately, not all citations are listed. In the GPs list, the Izotov et al. paper “Green Pea Galaxies and Cohorts: Luminous Compact Emission-line Galaxies in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey” was not listed, which is odd as it is an important paper. So using this: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/adsfeedback/submit_missing_references.html
    I’ve attempted to resolve that! A new citation should be added soon…

    2011ApJ…728..161I citing 2009MNRAS.399.1191C

  3. Kevin says :

    Hi Rick – none of these queries are perfect and some citations will always be missing. THanks for a) spotting this and b) fixing it!

  4. Rick N. says :

    Sorry about the double posting. It didn’t work first time, so I left it a half hour.

  5. Kevin says :

    No worries!

  6. zutopian says :

    Actually, the “Izotov et al. “Green Pea Galaxies and Cohorts: Luminous Compact Emission-line Galaxies in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey”
    is listed! It is Nr. 43.
    (Same result as on the above print screen:Retrieved 200 abstracts, starting with number 1. Total number selected: 2569.)

  7. zutopian says :

    On the above print screen there is entered “green peas”.
    As “Combined with”, “OR” is clicked.
    Quote: “ADS, like any search engine, will now scour the literature for papers with the words “green peas”, “green” and “peas” in it, and return the results:”

    It returns “green pea” and “green peas”,
    but also “green” without “pea/peas”, “peas” without “green”.

    PS: As I informed in my previous post, actually the “Izotov et al” paper is listed.

  8. zutopian says :

    I found
    5 papers, which contain “green pea” in the title
    and
    2 papers, which contain “green peas” in the title.

  9. zutopian says :

    New paper concerning ADS:
    “The ADS All-Sky Survey”
    Authors: Alberto Pepe, Alyssa Goodman, August Muench
    (Submitted on 16 Nov 2011)
    Quote:
    “The ADS All-Sky Survey (ADSASS) is an ongoing effort aimed at turning the NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS), widely known for its unrivaled value as a literature resource for astronomers, into a data resource.”

  10. zutopian says :

    In addition to my previous post:
    Here is the link to the “The ADS All-Sky Survey” paper: http://arxiv.org/abs/1111.3983

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