Embase logoEmbase is regarded as the European equivalent of PubMed/MEDLINE and contains more than 30 million references. When using the Embase search engine, you automatically browse not only the Embase database but also articles in PubMed/MEDLINE that have already been assigned MeSH terms. You will need to be logged in via your UGent account to gain access. For more info about access, click here.


Why search in Embase?

Generally speaking, Embase contains more European and pharmacological references than PubMed/MEDLINE. Embase also includes conference abstracts.

Yes, since both databases have a number of unique references.

For example, the most recent articles in PubMed/MEDLINE have not yet been assigned MeSH terms, so you will only find them on PubMed/MEDLINE.

Moreover, certain articles and journals (namely more than 6 million references in more than 2900 journals) are not included in MEDLINE, so you can only consult them via Embase.

Furthermore, the indexing in Embase differs from that in PubMed/MEDLINE. There are for instance more assigned terms per article in Embase, primarily terms related to pharmacology and pharmacotherapy. So you can also find unique references from the difference in terms assigned to an article.

No, all MeSH terms are included in the Emtree database, but sometimes under a different name. When transferring your search strategy from PubMed/MEDLINE to Embase, it is recommended to check whether there is a corresponding Emtree term for your search query.

  • In Scopus and Web of Science you can perform a citation search, in Embase and PubMed/MEDLINE you cannot. In Embase the number of citing articles in Scopus is mentioned per article and you can click through to an overview of these articles in Scopus.
  • In Embase and PubMed/MEDLINE you can conduct a more advanced search by using index terms: synonyms and terms higher or lower in the hierarchy are automatically included in your search query. Scopus does contain all the Embase index terms (field code INDEXTERMS), but does not integrate the synonyms and hierarchically higher and lower terms in your search query. As a consequence you get considerably fewer search results in Scopus and Web of Science than in Embase and PubMed/MEDLINE. For example: if you search on “heart attack” in Scopus, you will miss all the publications that mention “myocardial infarction” or that are indexed with the Emtree term “heart infarction”.
  • Subheadings, where the focus is on a certain aspect of a search term, are not included in Scopus or Web of Science. So your search will be less accurate.

How to search in Embase?

Embase can be searched using free text and/or with Emtree terms, the keywords in the Embase thesaurus. These Emtree terms can be found via Browse > Emtree. You can also look at the hierarchical structure of the keywords there. All underlying terms are automatically included (Explosion), but you can also switch off this option in Advanced Search.

Embase uses single not double quotation marks in PubMed/MEDLINE to search for an exact word or word combinations, e.g. ‘cardiovascular disease’.

In Advanced search, under Fields, you can select fields to be searched on, for example :ti when you only want to search in the titles.

Embase offers a functionality for building up your PICO search via Search > PICO. You can find more information at http://www.embase.com/#picoSearch/default

The PV Wizard is a tool that was developed in partnership with the pharmaceutical industry to help the user search for information about the safety of drugs (Pharmacovigilance). Via predefined search blocks, you can put together an extensive search query in just a few clicks. More information is available in this Elsevier video tutorial (you have to be logged in via your UGent account to view this tutorial. You will find more info about Access here).

Publications about medication can be searched via Search > Drug. In that menu, fields (e.g. /tn to search for the exact tradename of a medicine) and Subheadings (e.g. Drug Interaction) that are specifically related to medication can be added.  You can also refine the results on the basis of drug administration under Routes [of drug administration].

Publications about a specific pathology can be searched via Search > Disease. In that menu Subheadings (e.g. Epidemiology) that are specifically related to a particular pathology can be added.

Publications about medical devices can be searched via Search > Device. In that menu, fields (e.g. /dn to search for exact Device Trade Names) and Subheadings (e.g. Device Adverse Effect) that are specifically related to medication can be added.

Publications about (a) certain author(s) can be searched via Search > Author search. First enter the surname, then the first name or one or more initials. You can also opt to search by research institution or by unique ID of orcid.org.

Based on your search query Embase suggests a list of authors. To achieve this result Embase uses the Author Identifier of Scopus.

There is an option to refine results using the following search filters: Sources (MEDLINE and/or Embase), Drug,  Diseases, Devices, Floating Subheadings, Age, Gender, Study Type, Publication Type, Journal Titles, Publication Year, Author, Conference Abstract, Drug Trade Names, Drug Manufacturers, Device Trade Names and Device Manufacturers. The additional benefit of these filters in Embase is that you immediately see the number of results in the filter option itself.

  • Use a question mark (?) or asterisk (*) to allow variability for respectively one character or several characters in your search query. For example: the search query ‘globali?ation’ will show results for ‘globalisation’ and ‘globalization’.
  • Use the proximity operators NEXT/n and NEAR/n to indicate that your search terms have to occur at a certain distance (cf. number n) in for example title or abstract. Indicate the maximum number of words and whether the sequence can change.
    • Example 1: the search query ‘test NEXT/4 bias’ will show results for ‘test bias’ and for ‘test for publication bias’.
    • Example 2: the search query ‘test NEAR/4 bias’ will show results for ‘test bias’, ‘test for publication bias’ and ‘bias on taking a test’.
  • The inclusion of an apostrophe (e.g. Alzheimer’s) will bring up an error message. You can solve this by using ‘Alzheimer/s’.
  • Via Similar records you can obtain – a maximum of 100 – articles that have a minimum of 2 terms indicated as major focus in common with the initial article.
  • A number of recent functions allow you to widen your search strategy in order to increase the sensitivity of your search query. For example, take a key article, e.g. found via Google Scholar, and click on Similar records. Via Index mining you can get a complete list of index terms in this set of search results. Select the index terms that you want to include in your search strategy and then click through immediately to the results. Please note: the index terms can be placed in an OR or AND relationship in respect of your complete search strategy.

Using Set e-mail alert (maximum 500 references) or Set RSS Feed (maximum 20 references) you can automatically receive reports with new publications related to your search query and search strategy in your mailbox.

Link with EndNote

From Embase via the Export button you can export either a few selected search results or your entire search history to your personal EndNote library. Then click again on Export and Download.

You can import a maximum of 10000 references to your EndNote library at once. The exact number of search results shows up in the list under Select number of items.

Additional information/courses organised by the KCGG

Look at the FAQ page or a webinar on the Elsevier website or contact the KCGG if you have any questions about Embase.

You will find a list of the planned Embase courses here. If there is no course in the near future or you are interested in a customised course, please contact the KCGG.

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