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Physics and Astronomy: Advanced research

Data and Statistics

Comparing Data and Statistics by using ingredients and a recipe.

Imagine you look at a recipe. Data are your ingredients and Statistics are the final product.

Data Type Definition / Example
Observational What you capture in real-time
Experimental

What you produce in your lab classes

Simulation Modeling / Machine-generated
Derived E.g., Text mining, 3D Models
Textual Field / Lab notebooks
Discipline-specific E.g., Viewing stars through a telescope
Instrument-specific E.g., Taking your body temperature

 

Patents

What is a patent?

patent is the intellectual property right granted by the U.S. Government to an inventor "to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the U.S. or importing the invention into the U.S." for a limited time in exchange for public disclosure of the invention when the patent is granted. In most cases, this is twenty years from the date of application. In some situations, the term of the patent may be extended due to delays in the processing of the application. After the patent has expired, the invention becomes public domain. In addition, patent owners must pay a maintenance fee at 3.5, 7.5, and 11.5 years after issue or else the patent will expire.

See "How to Read a U.S. Patent" from Queen's University Library for a detailed description of the sections of a U.S. patent.


Content written by Paula C Johnson (Engineering Librarian, University of Arizona Libraries) in the Intellectual Property & Patents research guide. Current as of 26 Apr 2023.

Patent Types

Utility patent: Describes a new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or useful improvement thereof (i.e. what something does)

Design patent: A new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture (i.e. how something looks)

Plant patent: Describes an asexually reproduced distinct and new variety of plant (e.g. ‘NuMex Heritage 6-4’ New Mexican Chile Pepper)


Content written by Paula C Johnson (Engineering Librarian, University of Arizona Libraries) in the Intellectual Property & Patents research guide. Current as of 26 Apr 2023.

How do I search?

You can begin your search the following way:

  1. Brainstorm keywords to describe your invention, such as synonyms.
  2. Use your keywords to search for a similar match of your invention in Google Patents. The advanced search lets you enter phrases, exclude words, etc.
  3. If you find a similar invention, write down its class and subclass.
  4. Use the class and subclass to search patents and patent applications with the USPTO website classification search. The USPTO website is more current than Google Patents.
    1. [Note: The default search is CPC (Cooperative Patent Classification), which harmonizes the former European Classification (ECLA) and United States Patent Classification (USPC) systems.]
  5. Trace related patents through references.

Content written by Paula C Johnson (Engineering Librarian, University of Arizona Libraries) in the Intellectual Property & Patents research guide. Current as of 26 Apr 2023.

Why should I search first?

You have an idea for an invention — or have gone so far as to create a prototype. Before marketing your invention, you will need to determine if your invention has already been patented. To do this, conduct a thorough patent search. This will usually involve searching a number of different patent sites, so it's useful to keep a log of all your search activity to avoid duplicate efforts.

See General Information Concerning Patents and Patent Process Overview for more information.


Content written by Paula C Johnson (Engineering Librarian, University of Arizona Libraries) in the Intellectual Property & Patents research guide. Current as of 26 Apr 2023.

Technical Reports

What are technical reports?

Technical reports describe the process, progress, or results of technical or scientific research. Include in-depth experimental details, data, and results.

Why should I use them?

Technical reports are usually produced to report on a specific research need. They can serve as a report of accountability to the organization funding the research. They provides access to the information before it is published elsewhere.

Are they peer-reviewed?

Technical Reports are usually not peer-reviewed.  They need to be evaluated on how the problem, research method, and results are described.


Content written by Paul McMonigle (Engineering Instruction Librarian, Penn State University Libraries) in the Technical Reports research guide. Current as of 26 Apr 2023.

Gray Literature

Gray literature is the information created by organizations such as government agencies, professional associations, research institutes, and think tanks that are not published in scholarly journals or books. This includes:

  • Technical papers
  • Government reports
  • White papers
  • Theses & Dissertations 
  • Conference Proceedings
  • Pre-print journal articles

Gray literature is produced by researchers and practitioners in a field and is an important component of a thorough literature review due to its depth and breadth, timeliness, flexibility, and open access.


Content written by Lisa Clarke (Librarian, NOAA Central Library) in the Gray Literature research guide. Current as of 21 Jun 2023.

Physics and Astronomy Journals

Here are some physics-specific journals that you may want to check out!

Contact your librarian

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Ashley Orehek Rossi
Contact:
Ashley.Orehek [at] wku.edu
Commons at Helm Library 2016
270-745-6158
Website