PhD course: Information retrieval and methods for scientific communication

Last changed: 13 March 2024
Man with computer in his lap, in a rowboat in the forest, photo.

This course will give you valuable skills and insights that will make your work easier and more effective. The course is addressed to you who is admitted to PhD studies at SLU and corresponds to 3 HECS. On this page you can learn more about the course and also get to the registration page.

Course dates

  • 7 October - 29 November 2024
  • Last date to register: 23 September

Course content 

The course has a broad approach to information retrieval and scientific communication. It contains all the steps in the research process, from search strategies to communication of research results. Teachers on the course are experts on:

  • Information retrieval in databases and search engines for the web
  • Reference management
  • Publishing strategies and open access
  • Bibliometrics
  • Copyright 
  • Archiving of research data

Practical details

The course is completely web based without any scheduled lectures and is given at part-time pace, which gives you great liberty to plan your participation in the course, irrespective of working place. The course is mainly based on self-studies and all learning activities, submission of tasks and communication are done via SLU's learning platform. Please notice that there are set assignment deadlines throughout the course and some of the assignments require collaboration with other course participants during a given time.

The course is given in English.


3 Higher Education Credit (HEC)

Place: Web based, without any physical meetings

Prerequisites: Admitted to PhD studies at SLU

Language: English



To develop participants knowledge of factors affecting search process, scientific communication, source criticism and critical evaluation of publications. To develop the skills needed for effective and methodical work with information retrieval and handling of references and scientific material. To illustrate and problematise research information management, as well as the conditions and practices of scientific communication and publication.

Learning outcomes

After completing the course the participants should be able to:

  • discuss the conditions and patterns of today´s scientific communication and publishing
  • plan, perform and analyse search strategies
  • identify, describe and compare search tools within their research area
  • within a research context critically evaluate search result and publications
  • apply and problematise around bibliometric tools and methods for analysing scientific publications
  • use basic functions in a reference management software
  • handle research material in accordance with Swedish law: copyright legislation, the Principle of Public Access and the archival law


  • search process, search strategies
  • international reference databases and other relevant search tools
  • critical reading
  • reference management
  • bibliometrics and strategic publishing
  • scientific communication, open access and open research data
  • preservation and handling of scientific material
  • copyright


Completing compulsory assignments, which include written tasks, quizzes and contributions on discussion forums.