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Biosciences: Searching the literature


A student working on a laptopDatabases are specialist search engines providing access to a vast range of e-books, journal articles, newspaper & magazine articles, reports, case studies, statistics, and more!

Scroll down this page to view the full range of subject specific databases available to you.

  • Databases are designed to index and store structured information, so they usually perform better than normal search engines.
  • The content of databases is quality controlled - content is provided by reputable publishers, most journal articles are peer-reviewed and the data has been assessed by experts.
  • Depending on the database, a full-text can be obtained by clicking on the PDF/HTML link or details of provision can be found by clicking on the Find it @ Aston button.

If you want to have a look at the full range of databases available, across all subjects,, access a full A-Z list of all subscribed resources below.

Web of Science

Web of Science provides access to Medline, as well as a number of other relevant scientific databases. Medline is the US National Library of Medicine's  bibliographic database. Content mainly consists of biomedicine and health research.


Scopus is a comprehensive bibliographic database covering scientific, medical, technical and social science subjects. 


OVID MEDLINE is the National Library of Medicine’s (NLM) premier bibliographic database that contains more than 28 million references to journal articles in life sciences, with a concentration on biomedicine.

A distinctive feature of MEDLINE is that the records are indexed with NLM Medical Subject Headings (MeSH). 


Trip is a freely available clinical search engine designed to allow users to quickly and easily find and use high-quality research evidence. You do not require a log in to use Trip.  

Trip have created a range of short video tutorials that provide guidance on how to use Trip effectively. 

All of the videos are available here.


Research outputs from across the globe

Research from underrepresented voices - Created by the University of Leeds, this collection of databases was created in June 2021 to showcase and highlight research produced by underrepresented groups, with a particular focus on the Global South. Research has shown that mainstream databases such as Scopus and Web of Science have a Global North and English language bias, so this collection is designed to encourage you to look beyond these databases, to find research from across the globe.

Global Index Medicus - The Global Index Medicus (GIM) provides worldwide access to biomedical and public health literature produced by and within low-middle income countries. GIM indexes 5 regional indexes: African Index Medicus, Index Medicus for the Eastern Mediterranean Region, Index Medicus for South-East Asia Region, The Latin-American and Caribbean System on Health Sciences Information, Western Pacific Region Index Medicus.

Global Health (Ovid)Global Health provides an alternative, complementary point of reference with a broad analysis of foreign language journals, books, research reports, patents and standards, dissertations, conference proceedings, annual reports, public health, developing country information, and other difficult to obtain material.

HINARI -  A database of biomedical and health literature indexing over 14,000 journals and covering 30 different languages. Hinari Access to Research for Health Programme provides free or very low cost online access to the major journals in biomedical and related social sciences to local, not-for-profit institutions in developing countries.

Institutional Repository for Information Sharing (IRIS)  – Institutional Repository for Information Sharing (IRIS) is the digital library of WHO’s published material in full text produced since 1948. It’s content is freely accessible in siz official languages available years

PakMediNet  - PakMediNet is a database indexing medical journals from Pakistan. Its aim is to promote Pakistani Based Medical Research and Pakistani Medical Journals.

LILACSLatin American and Caribbean Health Sciences Literatures (LILACS)  provides access to more than 800,000 records of peer reviewed journals and other research outputs from the Latin American and Caribbean regions.




PubMed logo

PubMed is a biomedical literature database, providing access to references from MEDLINE as well as citations yet to be indexed for MEDLINE, scientific citations outside of MEDLINE's scope, and online books. 
PubMed is freely accessible from anywhere; however, using this link will allow you to see when the full text is available for a citation via the 'Find it @ Aston'  link. 



The BioCyc collection of Pathway/Genome Databases (PGDBs) provides a reference on the genomes, metabolic pathways, and (in some cases) regulatory networks of thousands of sequenced organisms

You can find more information and training material here.


Cochrane Library

The Cochrane Library is an online collection of databases that contain different types of high-quality, independent evidence to inform healthcare decision-making. 

The collection includes Cochrane Systematic Reviews, abstracts of other systematic reviews published in medical and health journals and a register of controlled clinical trials. Cochrane Library searches these sources simultaneously. 

Cochrane Clinical Answers are also available.Please see following tab for more information. 

Cochrane Clinical Answers

Cochrane Clinical Answers provide simplified, digestible summaries of the rigorous research from Cochrane Systematic Reviews. They are designed to be actionable and to inform decision making at the point of care.

Each Cochrane Clinical Answer consists of a clinical question, a short answer and an opportunity to link through to the full evidence from the original Cochrane Systematic Review.

What is a Cochrane Systematic Review? 



Embase is a unique medical literature database that will help staff and students in HLS conduct systematic reviews, tracking drug safety and collecting clinical data.  Further support, written guides and FAQs are available through Elsevier support pages at


CINAHL is the new resource for nursing and allied health research.

It is hosted on the EBSCO platform and it provides full text access to the most used journals in the CINAHL index. 

You can find training videos here.