Skip to Main Content

Research Support@HKU Libraries

The HKU Libraries provides support in different stages of your research cycle.


Prior art searching and identifying emerging research trends is often your first checkpoint in your research workflow.  To brainstorm and gather ideas:

1. Prior art searching using patent databases:  

According to Oxford English Dictionary, patent is “a license from a government conferring for a set period the sole right to make, use, or sell some process or invention”.  Patent search can help formulate your research question through discovery of prior art or new inventions.

   Espacenet (European Patent Office)    
   Google patent   
   Japan Platform for Patent Information (Japan Patent Office)   
   KIPRIS (Korean Intellectual Property Rights Information Service)   
   Patentscope (World Intellectual Property Organization)   
   SciFinder (HKUL current staff or students only): mainly on chemistry   

   CNIPA (China National Intellectual Property Administration)

   USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office)   


2. Identify emerging research trends using analytical tools:

ESI (InCites Essential Science Indicators):


Exploring by research fronts can help identify areas where important work is being done and where the scientific community is focusing its attention. A research Front is a cluster of highly cited papers over a five-year period in a specialized topic defined by a cluster analysis. Clarivate Analytics publishes annual reports on research fronts over the past years.  Read the  2022 Research Fronts report.



Exploring by Topic of Prominence can help identify topics with high momentum.  It takes into consideration 95% of the articles available in Scopus and clusters them into nearly 96,000 global, unique research topics based on citation patterns.  Find out more about the Topic of Prominence.