7 Great Open Access Research Databases For HR Professionals

Written by Rossina Gitto, Founder @ The Humans of HR, April 2021

Have you ever wondered how you can stay up to date with the latest advancements in Human Resources Management and other related fields without going back to University? It’s easy to believe that listening to an influencer or simply relying on our own work experiences will give us enough knowledge to stay up to date. Although it can seem like a good way to learn, those methods don’t always determine the quality of what we know. In addition, the knowledge we gain through our work experiences is not always transferable when we change our context & environment. When it comes to professional knowledge, relying solely on this kind of information can be a double-edged sward.

No matter which field of knowledge we work in, it’s imperative to understand that learning is a life long process that needs to be complimented with a diverse range of high quality professional sources. But that raises another question: If the knowledge of influencers and our own experiences are not enough, how can we compliment what we know and back it up with diverse & valid information?


Researchers and the scientific method

There are professionals in many areas of social sciences, including Human Resources Management, that spend their days at work applying the scientific method, defined by Oxford Reference (2021) as the procedure that science utilizes to gain knowledge. The scientific method consists of making observations, formulating specific theories, and testing theories and hypotheses to verify their validity through experimentation. This process leads researchers to produce knowledge that is as accurate as one can strive for. For that reason, it’s important to stay up to date with the work of the scientific community and the conclusions that concern our profession.

In addition, reading research papers is also an excellent way to discover how others are evaluating certain subjects and processes. This information might be of great use to those who need to carry out some investigations within companies and want to compliment the common “internal best practices” approach.

On another note, academic research papers are not always accessible for free. The work of researchers is valuable and important, and it makes sense for databases to charge a fee to access their work. Independently of that, there still are many open access sources online with thousands of valuable studies and academic dissertations available to the general public. So why not take advantage of all that hard work, learn something new, and compliment your existing knowledge with some well researched facts?


How to find unrestricted HR material with the latest findings in HRM

When it comes to professional and trustworthy material to learn about HR Management, we usually search through the work of international organizations dedicated to workplaces such as the International Labour Organization. We have also found other significant databases to find material through an article published by Proofed (2019) that informed on some of the best ones for conducting free research. We have gone on each one to discover if we could find studies on the HR topics that we were interested in learning more about, and were quite satisfied with what we found. After reviewing and using a couple of platforms, we’re sharing the 7 sources we recommend with you:


A. The International Labour Organization

The ILO (2021) is one of many United Nations agencies that brings together governments, employers and workers to set labour standards, develop policies and create programmes promoting decent work. Considering that the theme of the ILO is centred on is the world of work, it is quite evident that a database by the Organization is a wonderful place for Human Resources professionals to find high quality content on people management. On the ILO’s website, there are publications and research tabs where you will find sources such as LabourDoc (the ILO institutional repository) and LabourDiscovery (the ILO library collection). A search for Human Resources Management on LabourDoc brings up 1,383 document results, and one on LabourDiscovery brings up 715,122. Many are full-text open access materials that also link back to other databases mentioned in this article.

B. Google Scholar

Probably one of the best known places to find professional content, Google Scholar (n.d) is a scholarly literature search engine that was designed to provide a simple way to search for what you’re looking for in your research. It provides information on a wide range of disciplines, including HRM, and has content from sources such as articles, books, academic publishers, and universities, amongst others. By searching for Human Resources Management”, you will get hundreds of pages with content, which you can filter by date.


C. CORE

CORE (n.d) claims to be the world’s largest collection of open access research papers. It’s mission is to be an global open access research platform that delivers free, unrestricted access for all, mostly because it believes accessing knowledge is a right and it should be used for public good (CORE, 2019). It gathers research papers from institutional and subject repositories, hybrid and open access journals, and covers all research disciplines. It currently claims to have over 208 million open access articles that have been collected from over 10 thousand data providers worldwide. A simple search for the term “Human Resources Management” brings up a total of 19,011,079 academic articles that were written in 19 languages between the years 2001 and 2021 (CORE, n.d).


D. BASE: The Bielefeld Academic Search Engine

BASE is a German search engine, one of the most voluminous in the world, and it specialises in academic web resources (Bielefeld University Library, 2021). In terms of documentation, it provides over 240 million documents that come from over 8,000 content providers and can be searched for in over 20 translated languages. 60% of the full text documents are free of costs and are open to the general public. Just one search with the subject “Human Resources Management” brings up 25,961 results. The content comes from different resources such as digital collections, journals, institutional repositories, and more. It claims to only accept content that complies with specific requirements of academic quality and relevance.


E. EThOS: British Library e-theses online service

EThOS, the British Library e-theses online service, is the United Kingdom’s national thesis service that strives to maximise the visibility and availability of doctoral research theses developed in the UK (Kefford, n.d). A lot of the research documents on the platform were publicly-funded for students in UK Higher Education Institutions and it is therefore believed that they should be freely available in full text on an open access platform. With 500,000 records and 260,000 full text documents from over 120 institutions, EThOS constantly develops and adds new content to benefit everyone. A general search on “Human Resources Management” brings up 1620 records of doctoral theses.


F. DOAJ: The Directory of Open Access Journals

The DOAJ (2020), which stands for The Directory of Open Access Journals, is an independent database of over 15,000 peer-reviewed open access journals that covers all areas of science, including social sciences which is the category HRM falls under. Its mission is to increase the visibility, accessibility and usage of research journals globally. The content is provided by researchers in 125 countries and it is available in up to 80 languages. It is also fully free to use by anyone that wishes to access it. A journal search for “Human Resources Management” brings up 35 results, with a set of articles inside of each.


G. SSRN: Social Science Research Network

The SSRN, or Social Science Research Network by Elsevier (2021) is also an open-access online library and preprint community used by 2.3 million users. It primarily specialises in social sciences and is composed of 940,733 research papers in more than 60 disciplines. Most of the documents can be downloaded free of charge. A “Human Resources Management” search provides up to 1,938 papers for anyone in the world to benefit from.


Looking for professional HR content that is a bit more digestible?

At The Humans of HR, we provide inspirational and educational content that is easy to read, all while taking into account the significant work of other professionals and the scientific community. We wouldn’t be able to say that we provide high-quality content if we didn’t. If you are looking for digestible content that doesn’t come with abstract sections and loads of statistics, but that still holds a scientific focus, you should consider subscribing to our free Online Magazine and following us on social media to stay up to date with our work.



The Humans of HR’s Online Magazine

You may also be interested in reading:
A Human-Centric Workplace Reading List by The Humans of HR


To conclude…

We could go on giving you more information about platforms you can use, but we think these 7, and this last extra bonus source, The Humans of HR, should be enough for now. If there’s something we want you to take away from reading this article, it’s that there really are thousands of documents that exist to help you make smarter decisions when managing human beings at work, and that there really are zero excuses for poor HR management practices. Let’s not let the outstanding body of knowledge of the scientific community go to waste.


<meta charset="utf-8">About The Author
About The Author

Rossina Gitto is the Founder of The Humans of HR. She is a Behavioural Scientist that is specialized in Labour Psychology and holds a Master’s Degree in International Human Resources Management from the University of Paris II Panthéon-Assas. Having a vast experience abroad in 6 countries, she is passionate about the global perspective of people management. She contributes content on a wide range of topics including Leadership Development, Change Management, International Mobility and Workplace Wellbeing.

*The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of The Humans of HR.


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The Humans of HR is an Educational Media Company that is on a mission to humanize the world of work. We aspire to be recognized as a high quality International HR & Business learning outlet for a diverse body of professionals from all over the world. Our Magazine currently reaches readers in over 100 countries.

We believe everyone is entitled to have access to professional content that is backed up by relevant sources, as well as the work of the global scientific community, no matter where they come from. That is the reason why we started writing, and also why we will continue to do so. In order to keep growing and keep our content open to our global audience, we would like for you to consider supporting our work.

Your contribution is highly appreciated.

The Humans of HR is a Digital Social Enterprise that is on a mission to humanize the world of work. We aspire to be recognized as a high quality International HR & Business media outlet for a diverse body of professionals from all over the world. Our Magazine currently reaches readers in over 80 counties.

We believe everyone is entitled to have access to professional content that is backed up by relevant sources, as well as the work of the global scientific community, no matter where they come from. That is the reason why we started writing, and also why we will continue to do so. In order to keep growing and keep our content open to our global audience, we would like for you to consider supporting our work.

Your contribution is highly appreciated.

The Humans of HR is a Digital Social Enterprise that is on a mission to humanize the world of work. We aspire to be recognized as a high quality International HR & Business media outlet for a diverse body of professionals from all over the world. Our Magazine currently reaches readers in over 80 counties.

We believe everyone is entitled to have access to professional content that is backed up by relevant sources, as well as the work of the global scientific community, no matter where they come from. That is the reason why we started writing, and also why we will continue to do so. In order to keep growing and keep our content open to our global audience, we would like for you to consider supporting our work.

Your contribution is highly appreciated.

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References



Bielefeld University Library. (2021). Base—Bielefeld academic search engine | what is base? https://www.base-search.net/about/en/index.php

CORE. (n.d.). About core. Retrieved April 12, 2021, from https://core.ac.uk/about

CORE. (2019, January 21). Introducing core. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gFYNg_8ySQ

DOAJ. (2020). Directory of open access journals. About. https://doaj.org/about/

Elsevier. (2021). Social Science Research Network Solutions. Elsevier.Com. https://www.elsevier.com/solutions/ssrn

Google. (n.d.). About google scholar. Retrieved April 12, 2021, from https://scholar.google.com/intl/en/scholar/about.html

International Labour Organization. (2021). About the ilo. ILO. https://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/lang–en/index.htm

Kefford, B. (n.d.). About British Library EThOS – search and order theses online [Text]. Retrieved April 12, 2021, from https://ethos.bl.uk/About.do

Oxford Reference. (2021). Scientific method. Oxford Reference. https://doi.org/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803100447727

Proofed. (2019, April 5). 10 free research and journal databases. Proofed. https://getproofed.com/writing-tips/10-free-research-journal-databases/

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