An aggregate database contains articles from many different journals. Some aggregates lean toward specific disciplines; others are multi-disciplinary. Be sure to limit the search results to peer-reviewed journals.
Certain publishers are known for their coverage of specific disciplines. The publishers listed below produce many journals relating to public policy.
The goals of this section are: 1) Identify selected scholarly journals relating to public administration, and 2) explain why users may wish to both search within an aggregate database, and browse the current issues of specific journals.
The links to these scholarly, peer-reviewed journals will direct users to the article database that provides the most extensive coverage. Users will then see the option to browse recent issues, or to search for a topic within that particular journal.
Libraries subscribe to two varieties of article databases: In the first category are large aggregated article collections, originating from multiple journal publishers. EBSCO and ProQuest are prime examples of aggregate database vendors. The second category is comprised databases provided directly from the journal publishers.
Users have become accustomed to the availability of full text articles from multiple publishers in one place. Aggregate database vendors accomplish this by licensing the content from the journal publishers. These vendors add great value by providing a standardized interface that works together with features added behind the scenes, such as subject heading terminology.
Contracts between journal publishers and aggregate database vendors may stipulate that the most recent journal issues are subject to an 12-18 month embargo (delay) before the full text content is released to the aggregator. Users will notice this when an aggregate database provides the article citation and abstract of a recent article, but not the full text.
Libraries may bridge the embargo period by subscribing directly to journal publishers, thus allowing users access to the most recent journal issues. The strength of the individual publishers lies in providing content (frequently peer-reviewed). The design and behind-the-scenes functioning of the publishers' search interface will vary widely. In many instances, library systems enable the seamless connection between the aggregate index and the most recent content.
The four aggregated article databases that cover the most journals relating to public administration are EBSCO's Public Administration Abstracts, Business Source Complete, and Political Science Complete, and ProQuest's ABI-Inform.