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Publication Tracking : Searching for a Group of Authors in PubMed

Overview

This page gives tips on how to search for a group of authors in PubMed. Click here to access this information as a downloadable PDF.

Click here to access a PDF containing search templates and examples of searching for a group of authors in PubMed.

Creating Your Search

1. Searching for Publications by Any Authors in a Group

To search for publications authored by any authors within a specific group (i.e. search for multiple authors at once), you would use the same techniques outlined in the "Searching for an Individual Author" page, and combine each author search string using OR. So, for example, if you wanted to search for all publications authored by John E. Doe, Jane M. Example, and Marty B. Test, your search would look something like this:

 

("Doe J"[au] OR Doe JE[au]) OR ("Example J"[au] OR Example JM[au]) OR ("Test M"[au] OR Test MB[au])

 

This search is going to retrieve any publications by John Doe, John E. Doe, Jane Example, Jane M. Example, Marty Test, and Marty B. Test (as discussed in the "Searching for an Individual Author" page, this is going to ensure that you will retrieve these authors' publications, even if they do not consistently provide their middle initial in their publications).

If all of the authors are from UW-Madison you can also add an affiliation string into your search using AND. Make sure to put extra parenthesis around your author string, like so:

 

(("Doe J"[au] OR Doe JE[au]) OR ("Example J"[au] OR Example JM[au]) OR ("Test M"[au] OR Test MB[au])) AND (wisconsin[affil] OR madison[affil] OR UW[affil] OR wi[affil] OR wisc[affil])

 

This will retrieve publications by these authors that have UW-Madison listed as their affiliation. Finally, you can also limit your results by date, just like we did in the Individual Author Search, like so:

 

(("Doe J"[au] OR Doe JE[au]) OR ("Example J"[au] OR Example JM[au]) OR ("Test M"[au] OR Test MB[au])) AND (wisconsin[affil] OR madison[affil] OR UW[affil] OR wi[affil] OR wisc[affil]) AND (2019/01/01:2019/12/01[pdat])

 

This will retrieve publications by these authors who have a UW-Madison affiliation and that have been published between the dates of January 1st and December 1st, 2019.

 


2. Searching for Publications Coauthored by Authors in a Group

To search for publications co-authored by a group of authors, you will instead combine your author search strings by using AND. So, for example, if you wanted to search for publications co-authored by John E. Doe, Jane M. Example, and Marty B. Test, your search would look something like this:

 

("Doe J"[au] OR Doe JE[au]) AND ("Example J"[au] OR Example JM[au]) AND ("Test M"[au] OR Test MB[au])

 

This search will only retrieve publications that have ALL of these people listed as the authors. Just like in our previous example, you can limit your results by affiliation, like so:

 

(("Doe J"[au] OR Doe JE[au]) AND ("Example J"[au] OR Example JM[au]) AND ("Test M"[au] OR Test MB[au])) AND (wisconsin[affil] OR madison[affil] OR UW[affil] OR wi[affil] OR wisc[affil])

 

And by date and affiliation, like so:

 

(("Doe J"[au] OR Doe JE[au]) AND ("Example J"[au] OR Example JM[au]) AND ("Test M"[au] OR Test MB[au])) AND (wisconsin[affil] OR madison[affil] OR UW[affil] OR wi[affil] OR wisc[affil]) AND (2019/01/01:2019/12/01[pdat])


Helpful Tip

Too many results? Try this affiliation search instead:

(((wisconsin[affil] OR wi[affil] OR wisc[affil] OR wis[affil] OR UW[affil]) AND (Madison[affil] OR “school of medicine and public health”[affil] OR SMPH[affil])) OR wisconsin-madison[affil] OR UW-madison[affil])

How Do I Interpret These Searches?

Boolean Operators (AND and OR)

OR is used to combine synonyms together. For example, a search of parent OR guardian is going to retrieve publications that have the word parent, the word guardian, or both the words parent and guardian in them.

AND is used to combine concepts together. For example, a search of parent AND guardian is going to retrieve publications that have BOTH the words parent and guardian in them. If a publication has the word parent, and not the word guardian, your search will not retrieve that publication.

 

Visualization of how Boolean works  In the example on the left, I’m using OR to combine two synonyms. This is helpful when your are searching for a concept and you want to combine all keywords related to that concept. parent OR guardian retrieves results that either contain the term parent or guardian, or both the terms parent and guardian  The example on the right shows what happens when you combine search terms using the Boolean operator AND. Using AND is most effective when combining different concepts. For example, parent AND guardian only retrieves results that contain BOTH the terms parent and guardian. So, in this example, if an article has the term parent but not the term guardian, your search will not retrieve the article. While using AND retrieves less results than using the Boolean Operator OR.


Parentheses ( )

Parentheses are used in much the same way you would use them in a math equation, where OR is an addition symbol and AND is a multiplication symbol. A search of (cat OR feline) AND (dog OR canine) is going to retrieve publications that have both the words cat and dog, or cat and canine, or feline and dog, or feline and canine in them.


Field Tags [ ]

These tell PubMed where to search in the article for your terms.

  • [au] searches the author field
  • [affil] searches the affiliation field
  • [pdat] searches the publication date field

Quotation Marks " "

These tell PubMed to search for two or more words as an intact phrase. So, for example, searching "young adult" is going to search for that intact phrase, whereas searching young adult, without quotation marks, will look for articles that have young and adult anywhere in the article, regardless of how apart those two words might be in the article (e.g. it could retrieve an article that says "the young polar bear was now an adult."