■ Academic Paper Support Book: Start here 【Web edition】

What kind of services are available at the University of Tokyo?

The Literacy website has a good collection of information on academic information literacy, but some of you may still not know where to start. If that's the case for you, take a quick look at this page first! If there is a link to a more detailed guide, please jump to it.


What is the "Literacy"?

Information on academic information literacy is available for those who belong to the University of Tokyo.
This is the explanation of "Literacy" (successor page of GACoS) site.
"Literacy" is a website that provides useful information about "academic information literacy" for students, faculty and staff of the University of Tokyo.
You can access this site from anywhere on or off campus.

Please see also:
   About the "Literacy"
   About data migration from GACoS
   How to use the "Database List"

How to use computers at the University of Tokyo

Please see here. (Left menu: User's Guide→Using computers at the University of Tokyo)

How to use e-resources from off-campus

Please see here. (Left menu: Off-Campus)

Making full use of the library!

Besides the General Library, Komaba Library, and Kashiwa Library, each Faculty/Department has its own library at the University of Tokyo, and the whole libraries are called "University of Tokyo Library System".

  • To use any of the libraries, you first need to make "user's registration". Please go to your department library with your student (faculty) ID card for registration.(This procedure is unnecessary for 1st and 2nd-year students of the College of Arts and Sciences and students above 3rd year that are registered to UTAS (UTokyo Academic Affairs System).)
  • After the registration, you can enter all the University of Tokyo libraries by showing your student/faculty ID card. Borrowing books and journals is available with your ID card.(Some libraries do not provide borrowing service.)
  • If there is anything that you are unsure of on using one of the library services, feel free to consult your department library counter or submit questions to the librarians using the "ASK Service".

To use the library

Figure : To use the library

If there is anything that you are unsure of on using one of the library services, feel free to consult your department library counter or submit questions to the librarians using the "ASK Service".

Searching for prior research

There are resources such as academic journals, books, theses, newspaper articles, statistics, and conference proceedings, to conduct prior research investigation and checking research trends when writing reports and academic papers.
There are search tools (databases) depending on the type of material or research area, and the objective of your search. If you make use of the tools, you will be able to pick up the necessary information from the masses of materials effectively.
However, databases are not almighty. 
Although academic information is progressively being made electronic, there is still information that is available only on printed materials. Keep in mind that the resources outside of the Web may have the information you are looking for. 

◆Merits of using databases

    A database enables search through enormous amounts of data at once.
    You can narrow down results by filters.
    (ex: limiting results to documents published between 2001 and 2010)
    (ex: relevant keywords attached to each paper) 

◆Merits of searching through the references at the end of papers

    This is a list of papers chosen by the author of the paper that you were interested in (or was given to you from your advisor), and making use of the list eliminates the process of looking for papers from scratch.
    You can find major papers that you should read on the theme. 

◆Merits of browsing bookshelves and skimming through the table of contents of journals

    You can see books and papers of the same field at a glance, and find literature that is not on databases.
    You can take a look at the contents on the spot. 

Search with a tool that suits your needs/research field

When you want to use individual search tools that better suit your purpose/research field, access the "Database List" to know more about what kind of search tools are available.
You can look for databases depending on the material type, the search topic, and the database name.

To find out which search tool is relevant to your research, it is helpful to ask for an advice to people who are in the same research field such as your supervisor and seniors at your lab.
See also the menu on the left, Popular Databases.

Articles in Japanese (for all fields) CiNii Research
Articles in Japanese (for medical fields) Ichushi Web
Articles in English(for all fields)  Web of Science
Articles in English (for medical fields)  PubMed 
Articles in English (for psychology fields) PsycINFO
Articles in English (for engineering fields)  Engineering Village
Articles in English (for pedagogy fields)  ERIC
Articles in English(for human and social sciences fields) JSTOR
Newspaper articles in Japanese  Asahi Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun, Yomiuri Shimbun *Simultaneous access is limited. Always log out after use.
Newspaper articles in foreign languages  pressreader
Dictionaries/Encyclopedias JapanKnowledge Lib
E-journals and e-books available at the University of Tokyo E-journal & E-book Portal
Journals and books at libraries [The University of Tokyo and other universities] The University of Tokyo Library OPAC

Just try a search! (What is TREE [UTokyo REsource Explorer])

There are many tools to search for books and papers.
"TREE" is a useful tool when you are in a situation where "you don't know which database to use", or "you want to conduct a search to see what kind of papers or books there are from wide range of information.

"TREE"(UTokyo REsource Explorer) is simply a service which allows you to search academic information from one search window. You can search for books, electronic and paper materials all at once without worrying about choosing a database.

What is TREE (UTokyo REsource Explorer)?

Figure : What is TREE (UTokyo REsource Explorer)?

"TREE" is mainly searches within the University of Tokyo OPAC and databases that the university has contracted with (which permission was given from the providers). So it allows searches in the range of materials that the University of Tokyo students, faculty and staff have easy access.
However, TREE cannot search through all the information. There are materials such as Japanese newspaper databases which are outside of TREE search, so it is important to know how to use individual databases according to the purpose. Some TREE search results can only be accessed on campus.

◆Merits of TREE:

  1. You can search with the author name or article title. TREE simultaneously searches through printed materials in the libraries, electronic journals, and e-books.
    On the other hand, with UTokyo OPAC, you can search for printed materials in the libraries with the book or journal title, but cannot search for individual papers in journals by author names or article titles.
  2. Some electronic journals and academic information search tools are charged. These are subscribed by the university and are available free of charge for students, faculty and staff of the University of Tokyo.
    You can extend your academic information search to electronic journals etc. that the University of Tokyo is subscribed to by using TREE.
  3. When using multiple search tools individually, search rules differ according to the tool. Using TREE enables users to search for data from multiple databases from one window without considering the different search rules between search tools.

◆Demerits of TREE:

  1. TREE searches through information recorded on many search tools. Searches may return irrelevant results, because of the sheer volume of information subject to the search. If you feel that TREE is inconvenient, try searching with individual search tools.
  2. If you already know which database will return the most relevant results, or want to use a specific function of a database, TREE is not recommended.

UTokyo Article Link

Electronic journals, electronic books, full texts of papers, and newspaper articles can be viewed from the "Full Text" and "PDF" on the search result screen on your computer.  Click "UTokyo Article Link" in a case where you cannot find the link to the full text after searching the database.  
"UTokyo Article Link" is a service which searches for articles on e-journals available at the University of Tokyo, open access articles and printed materials on the UTokyo OPAC.

How to search efficiently: Improving search skills

The point in search is to search general to specific.
Start by entering one or two keywords. Entering many keywords may narrow down your search too much, and eliminate relevant results.

What kind of ways are there to search for information efficiently from masses of information?

Do not just end your search after you type in words that you came up with. You can improve your search result by knowing small tips like refining or sorting the results, using AND/OR/NOT search, phrase search, perfect match search, and thesaurus search.

Examples of keyword search techniques (using multiple words)

Figure : Examples of keyword search techniques (using multiple words)

◆About figure :

  • AND search ⇒ university AND library By using AND search, you can find results containing both keywords. AND search helps to narrow down search results.
  • OR search ⇒ library OR archives By using OR search, you can find results containing one of the keywords you enter. OR search helps return more search results.
  • NOT search ⇒ library NOT museum By using NOT search, you can find results containing the first keyword (library) but not the second keyword (museum). NOT search helps eliminate materials including unnecessary information from the search result.

In general, searching by university library will conduct an AND search automatically. However, search rules differ for each database.
Search rules for OR search, and NOT search varies depending on the database (using capital letters, lowercase letters, using + and - etc.).
(Example for PubMed) cancer OR ulcer (using capital letters)

◆Other search tips:

  • Phrase search ⇒
    For example, searching by university library will conduct an AND search in general and will include results with the order of the words, university and library, interchanged and results that have words in between the specified words.
    Conducting a search by "university library" on the other hand will give results that the order of the words are the same and there are no other words in between the given phrase.
    This is a technique called phrase search.You can more effectively narrow down your search result than AND search.
    Using double quotation "  " for phrase search is generally the case. However, input rule differs for each database.
  • Using a Thesaurus ⇒
    here is a possibility that the paper that you want will not be included in the search result when you conduct a search by words that you just came up with because those words are not used in the title of the article.
    To prevent this kind of search omission, especially for databases that specialize in a particular field (ex. PubMed), keywords are attached to each paper that is based on "Thesaurus" which is a vocabulary reference that organizes and words with similar meanings.
    Using this can prevent search omissions and enable searches by the theme of papers.
    This function is named "MeSH Terms", "Subjects", "Subject Terms", and "Keywords" depending on the database. Some databases are without this function.

If you find a paper that you like, using the keywords indicated on the paper to conduct a further search is one method you can take.

If there is anything that you are unsure of on using one of the library services, feel free to consult your department library counter or submit questions to the librarians using the "ASK Service".

Academic paper 

An academic paper is writing which you explain your argument on a particular topic by giving logical evidence. It is basically composed of a section for the "Title, Author, and Affiliation", an "Abstract", a "Main text", and a "List of reference", and follows a specific format.

Structure of an academic paper
*This paper is fictional

Figure : Structure of an academic paper *This paper is fictional

To clearly present your research, a well planned title and expressions in the abstract, and organized structure is important.
There are many books published on writing reports and academic papers. Reading some of the books at an early stage may be useful.

Reference list

How to look at reference lists

Have you ever had trouble finding materials on reference lists at the end of books, papers, or on handouts from classes?
If you know the points to look at reference lists, it will be much easier to look for materials.

Here is an example, but the writing style of reference lists is different for each research area and journal.

 (*This paper and book are fictional.)

(Journal Articles) Journal Articles have "volume (and/or issue) numbers".
 Todai Kensaku.
(Author) The impact of search skills for academic articles: comparing the students who does not know GACoS and who knows GACoS.(Article title) Journal of UTokyo Academic Writing. (Journal title)2013,(Publication year) 77(5),(Volume(issue)) p.1-7.(Page numbers)

Style of reference list

Citations in the text and a reference list must follow the format specified by the academic society or the journal you submit.
Each academic field may have a particular style of referencing, but there is no unique format to write a reference list.
Articles to be submitted for an academic journal must follow the instructions of the publisher.

Below is one example.

In-text citations

Citations can be inserted in a number of different ways. Citations in the text and reference list must follow the format specified by the academic society or the journal you submit.

  • Short quotations
    The author of XXX says that " ......... "(1).
  • Long quotations
    The author of XXX explains this point in the following way:
  • Paraphrasing/summarizing
    The author of the article considers this issue as .......... (1), an opinion reflected in several other essays.

In-text citations refer the cited materials listed on references at the end of the paper. Numbered citation styles use Arabic numerals e.g. (1), [1]. Author-Date styles use author name and publication year e.g. (Yamada, 2005).

Prohibition of plagiarism

When you use the information which you have collected in your search, you need to avoid plagiarism. You must differentiate other's works from yours clearly, cite and create reference list correctly.
Bibliographical references are meant to give credit to other authors and to allow the reader to follow the argument.
Keep the following points in mind when writing bibliographical references:

  • Be precise when using quotes
    Reference materials must be quoted with thorough exactitude and used according to their author's original intent. Refrain from quoting a material that is itself a quote from another source.
  • Provide exact information about your source
    The exactitude of the author's name, title, and page numbers is essential to allow the reader to go back to the original material.
  • Refer to materials accessible to the reader
    Whenever possible, try to use materials that can be traced and accessed by the reader of your report or dissertation.

Making a reference list

When you find a reference material you want, how do you save information such as the title and the author? ...bookmark? printing it out? downloading on your PC? e-mail? organizing it on Excel or Word?
Please try the "reference management tool" available to all students, faculty and staff of the University of Tokyo for free.
If you use the reference management tool, it can make the reference list for your paper automatically.

You can organize bibliographic information, either downloaded from databases or added manually and create a reference list automatically with reference management tools.

What you can do with reference management tools

Figure : What you can do with reference management tools

Please see also "Reference management software" at the left menu.

Deciding where to submit your paper

When deciding which journal to submit your paper, asking for advice to people who are in the same research field like your supervisor and seniors at your lab will be helpful.

In addition, finding out whether the journal you are considering is a registered journal of a major database or not, and the audience of the journal indicated on the publisher or the academic society's web site may be helpful in your decision making.


"JCR (Journal Citation Reports)" is an academic journal evaluation tool. You can find the "Impact Factor" of a journal with this tool.

The Impact Factor is the average number of times articles published in a given journal are cited over one year. It allows you to compare the influence of a journal among the scientific community.

Calculation method (example for 2018)

  • A = the total number of articles published by the journal between 2016 and 2017
  • B = the total number of references in 2018 to any of the articles covered by A
  • Impact Factor 2018 = B / A

JCR does not provide tools to judge the impact of individual articles. Please keep this in mind when considering the concept of Impact Factor.

This JCR description is based on information as of 2020.4.  Please Click here for JCR information updated in June 2021.

  • UTokyo Repository:
    The UTokyo Repository can publish a variety of academic content, including academic papers, research reports, and books. 
    Materials registered in the UTokyo Repository will be searchable by CiNii Articles, Google, etc., and can be expected to be seen by many people. URL:
  • Open Access
    "Open Access" is one of the ways to gain an audience by publicizing the paper for free.
    "Open Access" is to freely publish academic articles online, allowing readers to access them without any restrictions. One of the factors behind this project is the steep rise in the prices of journal subscriptions, which is making access to valuable academic information more difficult.
    You can submit your paper to a journal that adopts open access or publicize your paper at "The University of Tokyo Institutional Repository (UTokyo Repository)"(*) to make your paper open access.
  • APC (Article Processing Charg)
    Some journals are discounted as a member of the University of Tokyo. For more information, please see the APC page on the Library website. (Search for "APC" in the library site (URL:, [on-campus only])