Making Your Publication Findable

“We should look to the mind, and not to the outward appearance” said Aesop. Yet, outward appearance sometimes matters.

In publishing, the title and abstract of an article in a database (e.g. Pubmed, Embase, Web of Science), as well as some other information, such as listed your affiliation, represents the “face” of your article. It’s very important to make your title/abstract an adequate representative of your article, and many science authors do a good job putting a lot of essential information in the abstracts. Yet, an important aspect may be overlooked,  not just the information itself, but what makes it “findable,” or more exposed to the world.

Although some biomedical databases such as Pubmed and Embase assign controlled vocabulary (subject headings such as MeSH or Emtree terms) to the references, which aids others in finding your article, not all databases do so, and not for articles in any journal. In any case, even if your article is assigned subject headings in some databases, the text words in the database record, especially in the title, abstract and author supplied keywords matter a lot. They matter for finding your article by a database searcher, and they matter for how your article record is sorted in relevance ranking in search results. It’s in your power, as an author, to make your article findable easily via a database.

Here are some tips on how to make your publication findable via a database search:

  • Use both abbreviations adopted in the field and the corresponding full names in the title, abstract and author keywords. Example: long non-coding RNA (lncRNA)
  • Use special characters with caution as many of them can’t be used as search terms (e.g. plus and minus characters). It is best to use full words instead. For example, if a database user types HER2+ in the PubMed search box, the user will retrieve all articles on HER2, both positive and negative, as the “+” character is ignored by PubMed. At the same time, if a database user types HER2 positive in the search box, the user may never find your article if you only used HER2+ in the information that goes into a database record. If you used the words HER2 positive in the title, abstract or keywords instead or in addition to, your work would be easily found in PubMed by a searcher using the word positive when searching for HER2+ cancers.
  • Some databases recognize Greek characters (e.g, if a searcher pastes the title of your article where you used the Greek character for Beta in the PubMed search box, they will find your article but if they paste this title in full in the Web of Science search box, they won’t find your article unless they type beta as a word.
  • Use author keywords options offered by many databases to supply well established synonyms, alternatively spelled words and important additional terms not already used in the title or abstract to increase the chance of a database user finding your article if they search by terms not used by you in the title/abstract.
  • Use the full name of your institution as your affiliation, not just the institution abbreviation, department or address.

Key takeaways:

Always think about the ways your article can be searched for and found in different major databases when you name your article, write the article abstract, supply author keywords, list your affiliation, list the sponsor/grant, etc.

Alpha Particles Technology for Solid Tumors, Vancomycin Prior to Radiotherapy and More

  • New cancer therapy developed by scientists from Israel achieves “a 100% Tumor Shrinkage Rate”. The new “ALPHA DaRT” treatment achieves total tumor destruction in over 78% of cases by using alpha radiation for solid tumor treatment in a way tolerated by the human body. Until now using alpha particles for cancer treatment presented a challenge – while being highly efficient in tumor destruction without causing damaging side effects, the particles simply can’t travel the long distance to penetrate all of the tumor. The new technology uses an isotope called radium-224 to push alpha particles across entire the tumor. This technology was recently reported by Jerusalem Post and reporting on this research can be found in scholarly literature.
  • Scientists at the University of Toronto have identified a protein related to developing colorectal cancers. The protein, called Importin-11, carries beta-catenin, a protein involved in cell adhesion and gene transcription, into the nucleus of colon cancer cells, where it may promote cell growth. Blocking the function of Importin-11 could lead to new approaches in developing therapies to treat colorectal cancer. The study was published in Journal of Cell Biology.
  • Currently, cancer immunotherapy using CD-40 antibodies is unable to demonstrate efficacy in human clinical trials. However, recently scientists at the University Hospital Basel and Roche Innovation Center combined anti-CD40 antibodies with two other antibodies, whose mechanism of action was hypothetically conducive to boosting the anti-CD40 effect, and the combination demonstrated an increased treatment effect in animal models of colorectal, breast and skin cancer. According to study leader Dr. Abhishek Kashyap, “patients with ‘cold’ tumors — tumors that do not respond well to immunotherapy — could benefit most from this new combination.” The study, authored by academic and pharmaceutical scientists and supported, in part, by a Roche grant, was published in PNAS Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
  • New animal research found that taking the antibiotic vancomycin before undergoing radiation therapy boosts the immune system and enhances the anti-tumor effect of radiotherapy (specifically, hypofractionated therapy) by altering gram-positive bacteria in the gutThe study conducted by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania was related to lung cancer, melanoma and cervical cancer. The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation

Finding E-Books at MSKCC

The MSKCC Library offers a mix of print and online books. Although some current books can be found on the shelves at the Library, our users should be aware that the most recent editions of many of the books on our shelves may be offered only online by the Library. Online books, as with all electronic resources, can be accessed on any of the MSKCC computers as well as remotely (via the VPN or by logging in as a remote user). While one can find print books by both browsing shelves at the Library or using ONESEARCH (search box) located on the Library homepage, e-books can be found only via ONESEARCH.

To find individual e-books, type the book information in the ONESEARCH box on the Library homepage. You can use the default search box (what is typically called Basic Search) or you can use Advanced Search for more precision. Continue reading