Student Representative Column

Life after PubMed: Helpful online resources

PubMed is just the start to the effective and efficient use of online resources.

By Justin Strickland

If you need to find that perfect article to inform your current research project or to inspire the next, PubMed is certainly the place to go. But what other online resources are available for students (or anyone for that matter) working on a publication or looking for that next position? It's easy to fall back on the tried and true PubMed as the best and only online resource, however, many other useful and underused websites are available to help in numerous scientific domains. Ranging from the pursuit of extramural funding to the analysis of epidemiological data, these resources will help get you on the fast track to a more productive and prolific scientific career.

NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT) : RePORT is an online resource provided by NIH that includes tools, data, reports, and analyses of NIH funded research activities. One of the most popular and useful features is RePORTER (RePORT Expenditures and Results), an electronic tool that houses information about intramural and extramural NIH-funded research. RePORTER allows you to search these projects by project PI, organization, NIH funding institution, and/or funding type (e.g., R01, F32, etc.) and provides a variety of material about each project, such as the project abstract, published findings, and closely related projects. These resources may be critical when searching for a postdoctoral position, developing grant proposals, or simply when interested in the active projects at a particular institution or research laboratory.

NIH Center for Scientific Review (CSR) : The CSR web portal is an essential resource when developing and executing a successful NIH-funded research proposal. Here you can find the many study sections organized to review NIH grant proposals, as well as the member rosters for recent meetings of these groups. When used in conjunction with the RePORTER database, this information can help ensure that your F31, F32 or other research proposals finds their way to the most appropriate group of scientific reviewers. The CSR also includes informative webinars and online handbooks that will walk you through planning, writing, and submitting a successful NIH grant application.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Data Archive (SAMHDA) : Most researchers have experience reading and using the rich epidemiological reports released yearly by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Data Archive (SAMHDA) describing the population prevalence of substance use behaviors. What is less well known is the ability to download and analyze these data sets for your own demographic combinations of interest. In these data archives, you may find years of data sets including the omnibus National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) as well as other special interests reports (e.g., Drug Abuse Warning Network [DAWN] series). These resources make finding epidemiological data pertaining to particular issues and/or populations of interest exponentially more efficient and effective. All of these resources are available for download in the format of popular statistical programs (e.g., SAS, SPSS, R). In addition, an online portal allows for simple crosstab and frequency data analyses with the ability to control and filter for specific criterion.