Searching the Author Field

Enter author names to search the following fields within a record.

  • Author(s)
  • Book Author(s)
  • Book Group Author(s)
  • Group Author(s)


Enter the last name first followed by a space and the author's initials. Include a wildcard (* $ ?) after the author's initials to find all variants of an author's name. For example: Johnson MS*

The system automatically adds the asterisk (*) wildcard when you enter only one initial. So, entering Johnson M is the same as entering Johnson M* and will find the same number of results.

Enter a wildcard after each initial in an author's name. For example, Johnson M*S* is a valid search query. It may find more records (or as many records) Johnson MS* because of the wildcard after the M character.

Join multiple names with Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT). For example, Johnson MS* OR Andersson A* finds all records in which either author name appears on a paper. On the other hand, Johnson MS* AND Andersson A* finds only those records in which both author names must appear on a paper.


Accessing Distinct Author Record Sets

If you plan to use the Distinct Author Record Sets feature, then we recommend that you use the Author Search function to search for author names.

Alternatively, you can access Distinct Author Record Sets by performing an Author search from the General or Advanced Search pages. You must enter a last name and at least one initial. If the system finds record sets, a dotted purple box will appear at the top of the Results page. Click the author name that appears to the right of the View Distinct Author Record Sets label to go to the Distinct Author Record Sets page.

Note: Web of Science cannot retrieve clusters of articles authored by the same person if you enter only the last name in the Author field on the Search or Advanced Search pages.


Guidelines for Searching Names


Use upper, lower, or mixed case. For example, Lee (or lee) is the same as LEE.


Entering Author Names

Even though the product captures names exactly as they appear in the source publication, including full first names, it is advisable to search for a name by using various forms of the name and by adding a wildcard.

  • Johnson finds Johnson A, Johnson JL, Johnson JMB, and Johnson Donald S.

  • Johnson M finds Johnson M, Johnson MJ, and Johnson Matthew S.

    Remember, the system automatically adds a wildcard (*) if you enter only one initial after the last name.

  • Johnson M* finds Johnson M, Johnson MJ, and Johnson Matthew S.

  • Johnson MS finds Johnson MS and Johnson M S.

  • Johnson MS* finds Johnson MS and Johnson MSB.

  • Johnson Paul finds Johnson Paul, Johnson Paul D, and Johnson Paul V.

  • "Johnson M" finds Johnson M because the quotation marks restrict the author search.


  • Some initials may contain a period (for example, Johnson M. S.) while others do not (for example, Johnson M S). We have purposely omitted the punctuation in our search examples.

  • You may see two versions of a name in records of articles published in 2006 and later. One is the last name followed by initials. The other in parentheses is the full name.


Wildcards and Initials

You can enter a wildcard after each initial in an author's name or after the last initial. For example, Johnson M*S* finds records by the following authors.

  • Johnson, MS
  • Johnson, M. Clemens
  • Johnson, Melissa
  • Johnson, Marjorie Seddon
  • Johnson, Mary Augusta
  • Johnson, Markes E
  • And so on

In this instance, the search engine finds any characters between the M and S characters (Melissa) because a wildcard is used after the M and S characters.

A search on Johnson MS* may return fewer results (or the same number of results) than a search on Johnson M*S* depending on the author's name.

Be aware, however, that a search on Johnson M* S* returns far fewer results than Johnson M*S* or Johnson MS* because of the space between the initials and the wildcards.


Boolean Search Operators

Separate two or more names by the AND, OR, or NOT search operators. Last names containing a space should be searched with and without the space to ensure that all relevant records are returned. For example:

  • Herlert A* AND Vogel M* finds records of articles authored by both people.

  • Herlert A* OR Vogel M* finds records of articles authored by either either person or by both.

  • Herlert A* NOT Vogel M* finds records of articles in which Herlert A appears but not Vogel M.

  • De Marco* OR DeMarco* finds both variations of the name (they could be the same author).

  • Van Hecke T* OR Vanhecke T* finds both variations of the name (they could be the same author).


Hyphens and Apostrophes

Include hyphens (-) and apostrophes ( ' ) when searching for names containing those marks or replace them with spaces. You will also retrieve variants. For example:

  • Rivas-Martinez S* OR Rivas Martinez S* matches both variations of the name.

  • O'Brien OR O Brien matches both variations of the name.

In most name searches, the product returns the same number of records whether you enter a space or a mark such as a hyphen ( - ) and an apostrophe ( ' ).

A search on the name OBrien may return a different set of results than O'Brien and O Brien. It is advisable that you do not remove the hyphen, the apostrophe, or the space in names that contain these marks.

Note: Beginning with 1998 data, non-alphanumeric characters (for example, the apostrophe in O'Brian) and embedded spaces (for example, the spaces in the last name de la Rosa) are preserved in many fields that name individuals in the database. To search effectively across multiple years of data, ensure that you enter search strings that take into account all possible variations of the name.



Search for surnames containing particles with and without a space after the particle to increase the number of results that the product returns. For example: de Bruyn A OR deBruyn A


Diacritical Marks

Diacritical marks are not searchable. Search for variants of names that contain diacritical marks in the original.

The name Schröder may appear in the database as Schroder or Schroeder. Search for both variants. Example: Schroder OR Schroeder

Caution: A search on the name Schröder returns an error message. 


Asian Names

Asian names appear in the database exactly as they do in the source document. The name Zhuang Jun may appear in the database as:

  • Zhuang Jun
  • Zhuang-Jun
  • Fan Zhuang-jun


Searching for Authors Using Analyze Results

To narrow your search to authors (or inventors) of specific types of published papers (for example, nature journal articles or nature conference proceedings), use the Analyze Results function.

  1. From the Results page, click the Analyze Results link that appears under the Sort by menu.

  2. From the Analyze Results page, rank the records by the Source Title field.

  3. Go through the list and select records to view or select records to exclude.

  4. Go to the Results page to analyze your results.


About Author / Editor Search Examples

The names that we use in the search examples may or may not exist in your product's database. They are simply names that we have created in order to show how you should format your search queries. For example, you may find some of these names in Web of Science but you may not find them in another product database to which your institution subscribes.


Author Search

We recommend that you use Author Search, a new search tool that allows you to find variants of an author name and to review and refine your results from the Distinct Author Record Sets page.


Author Search Tip

To restrict the results of your search, combine an Author search with another field such as Topic, Title, or Address.


Anonymous Authors

To search for anonymous authors, enter anonymous in the Author field.

The term Anonymous will appear in the Author(s) field on the Results and Full Record pages.


Author Names (Booleans)

To search on the name AND, OR, NOT, NEAR, and SAME, enclose the name in quotation marks. Example: "Or"


Searching for Journal Authors

To restrict your search to authors of journal articles, deselect the two Conference Proceedings citation indexes.


Searching for Proceedings Authors

To restrict your search to authors of conference papers, deselect the Science, Social Sciences, and Arts citation indexes.


Did You Know ...

Web of Science contains the names of all authors associated with a source document such as:

  • Journal articles
  • Proceedings papers
  • Letters
  • Meeting abstracts
  • And more ...


Author Names 1964-1975

When you view the Full Record of articles in data years 1964-1975, you will see that surnames containing more than eight characters have been truncated. For example, the name Wilkinson, PN appears as WILKINSO.PN. When you search, enter the full surname of the author. The search engine automatically adjusts for data variations. See Author Names for more information.