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Library Toolkit for Professional Support Staff: Author Searches & Alerts

General Information- Conducting Author Searches

Conducting author searches may require the use of more than one search approach or more than one database. Problems arise when trying to distinguish the author of interest from other authors with similar publication names. These cautions should be taken into consideration when planning an author search or to track publications by an author of interest. This guide will provide information about author searching in PubMed and Scopus. However, other resources may be used to locate author publications. Access the following databases from the AHSL homepage under Top Resources.


To conduct an author search in PubMed you may use any of the following methods:
1.  Go to the Single Citation Matcher  tool and just fill in the Author's name box then run the search.

2.  Type the author's name followed by [au] directly into the PubMed main homepage search box. The [au] tells PubMed to search in the author's field of a record. 

Note: For either method, type the author's last name followed by first initial. This will pull up variations of a name in publications (e.g., if they published with middle initial or not or if they published with first name spelled out.)

Sometimes this will pull a lot of citations some with author names that are similar but contain a different middle initial. You can control the search a bit more by searching by author's last followed by first initial surrounded by quotations marks and then run another search with author's last name followed by first initial middle initial or you can run it as a combined search by using OR, as in the following example.

Save a Search & Create an Email Alert (2 min video)

"saleh a" [au] OR "saleh aa" [au]  

Tip: Addition author affiliation can help limit the results to more relevant ones. However, it should be noted that most of the publications records in Pubmed contain the author affiliation for just the first author of the manuscript. Therefore, you may miss publications when limiting by affiliation.

Adding [ad]  will search for state name, state abbreviation, or zip code depending on the term you input. You many need to try more than one of these or other options that suggest affiliation.


("saleh a" [au] OR "saleh aa" [au] ) AND (arizona [ad] OR AZ [ad] OR 85724 [ad] OR tucson [ad])

PubMed record example showing affiliation for just first author:

PubMed record example showing affiliation for all authors:

Track Publications by Creating an Alert:

After running a search, click on the "Creat alert" link under the search box in PubMed. This will prompt you to login to My NCBI if you aren't already logged in. If you do not have an account create an account by clicking on "Register for an NCBI account" and include your email in the registration. 

Once you are logged in, modify the Name of saved search and ensure "Yes" is selected under the question about email updates. Select the frequency of updates and day as preferred. For format select abstract and for number of items select 50 items for now and save. (you can modify these at any time)  Alerts will be sent to the email used for registering an account. The results that are sent the alert will still need to be reviewed to distinguish the correct author publications.


To conduct author searches in Scopus, you may click on the Author Search tab once you get into the database.

Enter the author's last name in the appropriate box, and first initial in the appropriate box, then enter the affiliation in the affiliation box and run the search.

On the page that follows, click on the hyperlinked name to view the publications associated with that name. If more than one name option displays and you have verified they belong to the same author, then Scopus will need to be contacted to merge the two name sets into one. On the Author details page there will be a Scopus Author Feedback form to contact Scopus.

Track Publications by Creating an Alert:

*Note- you will need to create a Scopus account to set up alerts.

Scopus record example (same publication as PubMed record example), shows all author affiliations: