Portal Natural Sciences

Our "Portal Natural Sciences" offers support for your studies, research, and teaching. Here, you will find news from the sciences, information about subject-specific events and courses offered by the university library, useful tools for scientific work, and much more.

banner: planet, cells, calculations, meadow, fish, desert, molecule

Find Literature


Coffee & Bit(e)s – the coffee lectures for scientists in Bern

Coffee, sweets, and useful information for free – attend our coffee lectures at your institute or library.

We offer news and valuable information for your scientific work, covering topics from poster design to machine learning. Short, to the point, and offering you a chance to win the 2019 Coffee & Bit(e)s lottery. The lectures are given in English. No registration is needed. When? We offer two coffee lecture sessions per year, one in spring and one in fall (see below). Time? Always from 15:15 to 15:30 pm. Where? At several science institutes and libraries in Bern (details below).

Program fall 2019

Get the program here as PDF.

Irreproducible results in scientific articles

Can we trust published literature? (Nuria Plattner, UB Bern)
17th October 2019, Institute of Plant Sciences, Altenbergrain 21, library

Where to store your research data?

A guide through the data repository jungle (Jennifer Morger & Gero Schreier, UB Bern)
23rd October 2019, Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Baltzerstr. 6, room D110

Improve your literature search in chemistry

Web of Science versus SciFinder (Michael Horn, UB Bern)
31st October 2019, Dep. of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Freiestr. 3, club room S559

Open Science update

Publishing OA and staying compliant with funding agencies (Andrea Hacker, UB Bern)
5th November 2019, ExWi building, Sidlerstr. 5, room 231
26th November 2019, Institute of Geology, Baltzerstr. 3, room 241

Innovative conference posters

How to create posters that effectively present your research? (Aline Frank, UB Bern)
6th November 2019, Institute of Geology, Baltzerstr. 3, room 241

Do you know bioRxiv and co.?

The use of preprint servers in biology (Aline Frank, UB Bern)
12th November 2019, Institute of Plant Sciences, Altenbergrain 21, library
14th November 2019, Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Baltzerstr. 6, room D110

How and why to use Google Scholar and co.

Tips and tricks (Silvan Christen, UB Bern)
20th November 2019, Institute of Geography, Hallerstr. 12, coffee room 308

Rating scientists based on articles and citations

Can publications be used to measure scientific achievement? (Nuria Plattner, UB Bern)
27th November 2019, Institute of Geography, Hallerstr. 12, coffee room 308

Lecture notes fall 2019

Program spring 2019

Get the program here (PDF).

Program fall 2018

Get the program here (PDF).

Program spring 2018

Get the program here (PDF).

Previous lecture notes

You can get the slides of some previous Coffee & Bit(e)s lectures here:

Spring term 2019

Fall term 2018

Spring term 2018

The Coffee & Bit(e)s Lottery

You have the chance to win a price (a surprise!) by the end of our current Coffee & Bit(e)s year. Before Christmas 2019, we will pick a ticket from our lottery box. Thus, do not forget to post your ticket when you attend our coffee lectures! You can join several times, which increases your chance of winning. Note: We will use your email address only to inform you in case that you win the lottery. We do not use your data for any other purposes.

Current courses in literature searching and reference management for scientists and students

Web of Science und Scopus – comparison of two major bibliographic databases

This direct comparison of Web of Science and Scopus, the two most comprehensive literature databases for the sciences, will show you the strength and weaknesses of both databases. We will show how they perform using example searches and present the bibliographic metrics offered by each database (Impact Factor, CiteScore, PlumX Metrics).

This course is held for groups on request. One-to-one teaching is possible during consulting hours (see Individual consulting).

Course information
For whom? students, researchers, other interested people
Format presentation and demonstration
Duration 60 minutes 
Teachers Aline Frank and Michael Horn
Time frame year-round

Basic literature searching and reference management for geologists

In this course, you will learn about the basic concepts of literature searching and get to know major literature sources for the geosciences, i.e., swissbib Basel Bern and swissbib.ch, Web of Science, Scopus, and GeoRef. The second part of the course offers an introduction to reference management using Mendeley.

This course is offered for groups on request. One-to-one teaching is possible during consulting hours (see Individual consulting).

Course information
For whom? geoscience students and researchers
Format presentation, demonstration, and exercises
Duration 120 minutes
Teachers Aline Frank and Michael Horn
Time frame fall semester

Basic literature searching and reference management for biologists

In this course, you will learn about the basics concepts of literature searching and get to know major literature sources for biology, i.e., swissbib Basel Bern and swissbib.ch, Web of Science, Scopus, and PubMed. The second part of the course offers an introduction to reference management using Mendeley.

This course is offered for groups on request. One-to-one teaching is possible during consulting hours (see Individual consulting).

Course information
For whom? biology students and researchers
Format presentation, demonstration, and exercises
Duration 120 minutes
Teachers Aline Frank and Michael Horn
Time frame spring semester

Courses for subject-specific information search – under development:

Scientific information search and analysis in molecular cell biology: How to find literature, genome and protein information?

We offer an introduction in advanced literature and information searching based on subject-specific databases. Students of this course learn how to find literature in Web of Science, Scopus, and PubMed. In addition, they get a profound understanding in how to use nucleotide and protein sequence databases (GenBank/ Refseq, UniProt, NCBI Proteindatenbank) and the online sequence analysis tool BLAST.

This course is offered for groups on request. One-to-one teaching is possible during consulting hours (see Individual consulting).

Course information
For whom? PhD students and researchers from the life sciences (cell and molecular biology)
Format presentation, demonstration, and exercises
Duration 2 afternoons
Teachers Aline Frank, Michael Horn, Heidrun Janka
Time frame pilot course: presumably in fall 2018; later on offered in spring or fall

Further courses ...

... of the University Library concerning reference management software, scientific writing and publishing can be found here:

Courses in information literacy offered by the University Library.

Tools und software for your studies and research

The tools and software presented here are free of charge, at least in their basic version. 

What is your favorite tool for your studies and research? We are happy to take up your ideas for this website (aline.frank@ub.unibe.ch).

Analysis, statistics, graphics, and data management

The R Project for Statistical Computing

R is a powerful and free software environment and programming language for statistical computing and graphics.

Computer program: Download R
Useful graphical interface for R: Download R Studio
Information for beginners: Getting started with R
E-book (in German): Angewandte Statistik, Methodensammlung mit R, J. Hedderich & L. Sachs, Springer Spektrum 2016 (full text within Uni Bern network)

KNIME

KNIME is a multi-functional tool for data analysis and visualization. It is easy to use due to its graphical interface.

Computer program: You will find more information about KNIME here.
E-book: KNIME Essentials, perform accurate data analysis using the power of KNIME, G. Bakos, Packt Publishing 2014 (full text within Uni Bern network)

Scientific writing

Writing tips

How do I write a research article in the sciences? Find useful E-books and websites here:

E-book: A scientific approach to scientific writing, J. Blackwell & J. Martin, Springer 2011 (full text within Uni Bern network)
E-book: Scientific writing - easy if you know how, J.K. Peat, BMJ Books 2002 (full text within Uni Bern network)
Useful tips for non-native English speakers: 5 ways to improve scientific writing for non-native English speakers (blogpost)
Publishing in biomedical journals: Scientific writing tips

The University Library also offers support in scientific writing: see "Academic writing".

LaTeX

LaTeX is a text processing software which allows for clean formatting and embedding formula in your text. Especially useful for writing research articles in the exact sciences.

Computer program: Download LaTeX
Introduction and documentation: see The LaTeX Project documentation website.

The University of Bern offers an introductory course in using LaTex during the spring semester: see the Transferable Skills Program for (Post)Docs

Literature search

Literature search tools for the sciences

Here, we provide an overview of relevant tools, i.e., literature search websites, for finding literature in the sciences.

Overview of literature search tools and platforms (PDF, 29KB) (German)

For group courses and one-to-one teaching in literature search in the sciences, please contact aline.frank@ub.unibe.ch or michael.horn@ub.unibe.ch.

Reference management

Reference management software

These computer programs assist you in literature reference management and citation:

*Full version: members of University of Bern use their Campus-Licence (Citavi) or get discout for licences in the softwareshop.

Courses in reference management offered by the University Library can be found here.

Collaborative work

Scrible

Scrible is a web tool that helps you to collect websites and online articles, and to flag, annotate, and share those with your colleagues.

SlideShare

SlideShare is useful to share and archive presentations, documents, PDFs, videos, and webinars.

Campus Cloud

Campus Cloud is useful to store documents in the cloud, in order to have them ready anywhere and anytime – and to share them with others. Recommended by the University of Bern.

Campus Cloud website

Labstep

Labstep helps you to organize and document your work in the lab: "Labstep lets you create a personal or shared timeline with your lab group to track your experimental progress in the lab. You can write updates of your experiments and attach results to keep an accurate record of your work."

Social networks for research

Researchgate and Academia.edu are useful social networks specifically designed for researchers.

Registration: Researchgate and Academia.edu

Publication

Online publications

The Open Science Team of the University Library Bern offers information and support for online publication, open access, research data management, and much more.

ORCID

Distinguish yourself in research! ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) is a unique identifier for academic authors.

Altmetric

The Altmetric-Plugin allows you to easily display altmetric data for electronic articles that have a DOI.

The different tools of Altmetric are shown here.

Presentations

PowerPoint

The standard software for scientific presentations. We offer some tips on how to use it most efficiently:

We recommend: Using PowerPoint in a Research Presentation, from James Clark, Center for Innovation in Research and Teaching (CIRT).
E-book: PowerPoint 2016 - gekonnt präsentieren, I. Baumeister, Bildner 2016 (German; fulltext within Uni Bern network)
E-book: Powerpoint und Prezi - sehr gut präsentieren, P.C. Lamprecht, Stiftung Warentest 2017 (German: fulltext within Uni Bern network)

Prezi

Use Prezi to easily create innovative and interactive presentations online.

Here, you can find informationen about Prezi.
E-book: Powerpoint und Prezi - sehr gut präsentieren, P.C. Lamprecht, Stiftung Warentest 2017 (German; full text within Uni Bern network)

R Markdown

R Markdown allows you to establish presentations directly with R, based on your data, reproducible and flexible. The software can also be used to make handouts, interactive documents, and more. "Your data tells a story. Tell it with R Markdown. Turn your analyses into high quality documents, reports, presentations and dashboards."

Organize your work

Netvibes

Netvibes allows you to customize your web starting page with your personal RSS web feeds and more: "Your Personal Dashboard. See everything that’s happening: News, social media, favorite websites, apps and smart devices, all in one Dashboard."

Registration for Netvibes

Diigo

Diigo is a bookmarking tool for collecting and managing websites, notes, pictures, and links.

Registration for Diigo

Toodledo

Toodledo helps you to establish to-do-lists and to take notes: "Toodledo is a flexible and multi-functional tool that will improve your productivity."

Registration for Toodledo

Taking notes

These programs are helpful to collect, order and easily refind your notes, documents or pictures:

under construction

One-to-one support

Thursday, 2–4 pm, upon pre-registration per email