5 Best Browsers For Academic Research

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Key notes

  • The best browsers for academic research provide access to unlimited resources in all disciplines.
  • Some of these tools let you access websites and databases unavailable on other search engines.
  • To get the best value, these browsers should offer you export formats and links to where you can get full texts.
best browser for academic research
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Gone are the days of reading a series of complex papers in the library while doing academic research. Nowadays, academic research browsers or search engines have taken the role and simplified the process.

Some of these tools provide citations, references, and links to text that would usually be unavailable to you. And thankfully, these tools are free, unlike some of the best survey software for academic research.

However, there are too many of them. So, choosing the best one might be a real headache.

This article simplifies that process by selecting the five best academic browsers you can use.

Can Google Scholar be used for academic research?

Google Scholar is one of the leading, if not the best academic research browsers available. It has excellent coverage and a lot of resources for just about any literary work.

Its primary purpose is to function as an academic research engine. So, it will always do the job well.

Is Google Scholar credible?

Being the academic research wing of a tech giant, it’s safe to say that Google Scholar is credible. Moreover, it has a lot of reliable sources, with citations to boot.

Also, with its excellent coverage and reach, you can lay your hands on the best academic papers in your field. 

What can I use other than Google Scholar?

The academic research browser industry is not a monopolized one. There are other trusted research search engines aside from Google you can use.

There are also many websites where you can find the best research papers needed. Hence, you are not short options, as we will show in subsequent sections of this guide.

What are the best research browsers?

Google Scholar – Easiest to use

google scholar academic research browser best

This tool carries the power of the Google search engine to find the best research papers. It has a coverage of over 200 million articles. 

The good thing about this academic research browser is that the papers are free for all fields. Also, it mainly provides links to the full text in PDF format for you to download. 

Other features:

  • Provides only a snippet of the abstract.
  • It shows related articles.
  • Numerous export formats.

Get Google Scholar

Microsoft Academic – Engine with results overview

microsoft academic

Thanks to its dynamism and coverage, Microsoft Academic is an excellent research browser. It covers over 210 million articles. 

One of the significant differences between this search engine and Google Scholar is the overview page for each indexed paper. This allows you to easily see the top citing articles without reading the entire document.

Other features:

  • Provides a complete abstract. 
  • Provides references.
  • APA, MLA, and BibTeX export formats.

Get Microsoft Academic

BASE – Highest coverage

base best browser academic research

BASE (Bielefeld Academic Search Engine) is a research browser hosted by the Bielefeld University in Germany. It provides resources from the combination of entries from many institutional repositories. 

What’s more, it is free and open-source. BASE allows you to search for everything for free, whether images, journals, abstracts, or articles.

Other features:

  • Over 240 million documents.
  • Contains duplicate articles.
  • Does not provide references.


Semantic Scholar – AI-powered engine

semantic scholar

Semantic Scholar is one of the newest browsers for academic research. It is driven by Artificial intelligence algorithms to provide results with more relevance and impact.

This is done by finding hidden links between topics. Also, you can stay updated on the latest articles in your field with the Semantic Scholar email alert.

Other features:

  • BibTeX and Endnote export format.
  • Provides links to the full text.
  • It shows related articles.

Get Semantic Scholar

Science.gov – Highest number of research websites

science gov browser academic research best

Science.gov is an excellent tool that provides users with reliable scientific research results. In addition, it allows you to access the best websites for research papers available online.

The articles provided by Science.gov are entirely free. Moreover, it covers over 200 million reports from more than 15 US agencies.

Hence, you are not short of credible materials to use for your research.

Other features:

  • Over 2200 research websites.
  • APA, and other export formats.
  • Provides the full abstract.

Get Science.gov

The best academic research browser should give you access to reliable resources. This is what the search engines in this guide provide, and you should find them helpful.

You can check our guide for some juicy top picks if you need a list of the best academic writing software.

Feel free to let us know which of the searches above you enjoy using in the comments section below.