Top 15 Academic Search Engines

Top 15 Academic Search Engines

Have you ever wondered how much time goes into combing through hundreds of unnecessary resources before hitting the right one on the internet? Every successful hit, is accompanied by a dozen abandoned web pages, hordes of half-read scraps and false leads.

Even though Google and Wikipedia have been the holy grail for searching just about anything on the internet, academic search goes beyond that. I have outlined the best scholarly search engines to help you get the answers you need without having to find your way around misleading information.

Google Scholar

If you consider Google to be the universal set of search engines, then Google Scholar is a subset. It focuses on scholarly literature. You can search across numerous disciplines and sources, including articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites.


This one scores a homerun with the exact search result being displayed instead of an array of the same. Also knownas an 'answer engine', it contains various Math and Statistics functions. The best part about this search engine is that, instead of providing a list of answer, you are directed to the exact result you are looking for.

Microsoft Academic Search

This search engine has 48 million publications representing more than 20 million authors and subjects ranging across a variety of subjects with updates being added each week. Here you can search papers, authors, conferences and journals.


Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE) is one of the most voluminous search engines for academic open access web resources. Operated by Germany's Bielefeld University Library, this search engine offers a database of more than 63 million intellectually selected documents from 3,000+ sources, along with their bibliographic data.


Refseek has a database of more than one billion documents, including web pages, books, encyclopedias, journals and newspapers. It makes academic information easily accessible to students and researchers with reduced information overload unilike other search engines.


This is a targeted search engine designed for students, teachers, administrators and caregivers to help find authoritative, intelligent, and time-saving resources in a safe, editor-reviewed environment. The database of this search engine includes hundreds of thousands of trusted resources from universities, government, and established noncommercial providers.

The Virtual Learning Resources Center

This a custom Google search features thousands of the best academic information websites put together by teachers and library professionals worldwide, to provide students and researches with current, valid information for school and university academic projects.


Connecting Repositories (CORE) is an experimental service allowing keyword and semantic search of over 10 million open access articles. It provides free access to scholarly publications distributed across many systems with advanced discovery tools.


MEDLINE (Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online, or MEDLARS Online) is a bilbliographic database of life sciences and biomedical information. This information includes articles on medicine, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, veterinary medicine, healthcare, biology, biochemistry, molecular evolution and more.

National Archives

The Archival Research Catalog (ARC) is the online catalog of NARA's nationwide holdings in the Washington, DC area, Regional Archives and Presidential Libraries. This online public portal holds information to numerous resources and information.

Academic Info

This academic search engine was created by Michael Madin in 1998. It helps aspiring researchers find the right educational information. It helps bringing together the best educational information to guide students on their academic ventures.


This is a free service that helps in storing,organizing and sharing any scholarly paper that you are reading. You can create your personal library by adding any paper that interests you on the web. CiteULike also extracts the citation details automatically without you having to type it. Since it works from within your web browser, you do not need to install any software.

Open Library

This search engine will lead you to the world’s classic literature, open e-books and other excellent open and free resources. Not only that, you can also contribute to the library with information, corrections to the catalog, and curated lists.

Smithsonian Institution Research Information System

This search engine provides you an access to the vast resources of the Smithsonian Institution through the Research Information System. It has a database of more than 7.4 million records from the Smithsonian’s museums, archives, and libraries.

Bioline International

Bioline International is managed by scientists and librarians as a collaborative initiative between Bioline Toronto and and the Reference Center on Environmental Information. This search engine is a great tool for Science and Environmental Management students.

Can you name any other academic search engines that have been helpful to you? Tell us in the comments section below.


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