Nuclear Science References (NSR)
NSR Reference Paper NIM A 640, 213 (2011)
Database version of March 1, 2024

The NSR database is a bibliography of nuclear physics articles, indexed according to content and spanning more than 100 years of research. Over 80 journals are checked on a regular basis for articles to be included. For more information, see the help page. The NSR database schema and Web applications have undergone some recent changes. This is a revised version of the NSR Web Interface.

NSR Help Page

NSR database and Web interface are described in Brookhaven National Laboratory Report BNL-94690-2011-JA (2011). Complementary information is presented below:

General Information
Quick Search
Initialization parameters
Indexed Search
Text Search
View and Combine Lists
Recent References
NSR Link Manager
About NSR entries
Scope and completeness

General Information

The Nuclear Science References (NSR) database is an indexed bibiliography of primary and secondary references in nuclear physics research. About 80 journals are regularly scanned for articles. Recent references are added on a weekly basis. Approximately 3,800 entries are added to the database annually.

Each entry in NSR is assigned an eight-character keynumber. The first four digits of the keynumber give the publication year of the corresponding reference. Most of the entries include keyword abstracts, which provide a brief summary of the subject matter in the given reference. These abstracts are also used to generate the indexed quantities in the database.

There are several ways to retrieve reference lists from NSR. The Quick Search on the main page allows a quick lookup of references for a given author or nuclide. Indexed retrieval allows a boolean "and" search over several indexed categories (author, nuclide, etc.). Text retrieval allows plain-text searching of the title and keyword fields. Keynumber retrieval fetches the information for a specific article, given the NSR keynumber.

Entries for certain theory and review articles may not include keywords abstracts, if they do not deal with specific nuclides or reactions. These may still be retrieved in other ways, including author, text, or keynumber searches. For more information on the scope of articles included in the database, see the Scope and completeness section below.

Every effort is made to maintain the accuracy of the database contents. We urge users who find errors, either typographical or substantive, to report them to us at

Quick Search

The "Quick Search" option in the main page allows a simple retrieval of references based on author, nuclide, for a given range of publication years. For the allowed formats for author and nuclide inputs, see the section on Indexed Search below. It should be noted that if the "Initialization Parameters" are modified on one of the other pages, the new parameters will be applied to subsequent "Quick Search" retrievals.

Initialization Parameters

"Initialization parameters" are general parameters that you might want to keep constant over several different searches.

  • Publication year range: Search for articles within this range.

  • Primary only: Checked for searches on primary references only, unchecked for searches on primary and secondary references. (Note: prior to about 1973, no distinction was made between primary and secondary references.)

  • ENSDF Evaluators: Provides a simplified output that has no limitations on the number of entries retrieved.

  • Require measured quantity: If this box is checked, only entries with a "measured ..." phrase in the keywords will be returned.

  • Output year order: Arrange search results in ascending or descending year order.

  • Output format: "HTML" provides output in formatted html, "Exchange" gives a text file in the inter-lab exchange format, "Text" retrieves the entries in a plain-text format, "BibTex" retrieves in a format useful in LaTex bibliographies, and "Keynum" retrieves a list of keynumbers for references matching your criteria. See below for examples of output formats.

  • All entries/Entries added since: To search only entries added to the database since a certain date, select the second radio button and specify a date in the fields provided.

Indexed search

The "indexed search" page allows a Boolean "and" search of up to three parameters. The parameter type is chosen from a drop-down list, and the parameter value entered into a text box. For many parameter types, a "browse" option is available, which provides a list of allowed values and automatically fills in the "value" box with the user's choice. Entries for which parameter type "(none)" is selected will be ignored.

The following parameters are indexed:

  • Author - Enter author's last name, and (optionally) one or two initials. Initials should be followed by a period, and can come before or after the last name. If given after, a comma should be used after the last name. Examples: "Smith", "A.Smith", "Smith,A.", "A.B.Smith".

    Note that in a few cases, alternate versions of authors' names are indexed, so that the name on the reference may not exactly match the name entered in the search form. Only first and second initials are indexed; additional initials in the search parameter will be ignored.

    Collaboration names may also be entered in the author field. Long collaboration names are truncated to 32 characters. For a list of collaborations, use the "Browse" Button.

  • FirstAuthor - Same as above, but only consider references where given author is first in the author list. Note that collaboration names are never listed as first author in NSR.

  • Nuclide - Enter nuclide of interest in the format 76BR, 208Pb, 1H, etc. The alternative format BR-76, PB-208 may also be used. To search on all nuclei with a given mass or charge use A=## or Z=## where ## is the mass or charge number of the nucleus, respectively. Entering just the nuclide symbol (i.e., "Pb") will return only references where the symbol appears in the keywords without a mass number; if you want references for all lead isotopes, use "Z=82" or "Z=Pb".

    Nuclide symbols are not case-sensitive except for n and N; the former will be interpreted as neutron, the latter as nitrogen. "NN" may also be used as the symbol for neutron (i.e. "2n" and "2NN" are treated the same).

  • Target, Parent, and Daughter - These are special cases of the Nuclide search. Input format is the same as for "Nuclide".

  • Reaction - Enter the reaction of interest. Should be in the form (p,a) - may also be entered without parentheses. Note that abbreviations are used for particle names: A=alpha, B=beta, G=gamma. Examples of some other valid particles are PI+,K-,p-bar.

    A list of reactions with a specified incident particle can be obtained by using the "Browse" button. (A list of valid particles can be obtained by browsing on "Beam" - see below).

    It is also possible to enter the target nuclide along with the reaction string: 15N(p,a), for instance.

  • Incident - Enter incident particle. The "Browse" option gives a list of valid particles.

  • Outgoing - Enter outgoing particle in reaction - i.e., "a" for (p,a), (a,na), etc, reactions. "Browse" has same functionality as it does for "Beam".

  • Subject (also Measured, Deduced, Calculated) - Enter subject. "Subject" option returns all instances, "Measured", "Deduced", "Calculated" require one of these words at beginning of keyword phrase. Note that only very specific subject strings are indexed, based on what is given in the keywords. "Browse" gives full list of indexed subjects.

  • CODEN - This is a five-letter code associated with a given journal. For instance, the coden for Phys.Rev. C is PRVCA. "Browse" returns a list of available codens, arranged alphabetically by journal name. This list also lists a year range for each coden, because a given journal may have had different codens in different years.

    With rare exceptions, only primary sources have codens associated with them. In addition, early entries (before about 1973) may be incomplete and lack coden information in the database.

  • Topic - Enter the major keyword topic (Nuclear Structure, Nuclear Reactions, etc.). You may also use the standard three-letter abbreviation (N-S, N-R, RAD, ...).

  • Z(range),A(range) - Enter a numerical value for Z or A. This retrieves only papers where a numerical range in the form "Z=10-20" or "A=3-210" appears in the keywords. In order to retrieve all indexed nuclides with a given Z or A (i.e. all nuclides with Z=20 including 40Ca, 42Ca, ... , use the Nuclide parameter with "Z=20" or "Z=Ca" in the value field, as described above.

Text search

The "text search" page can be used to search for references based on text matches in the title and keyword fields. Searches can be restricted to one of these fields, or can span both.

  • Two text searches can be "anded" by using both fields on the entry form.

  • Search strings must be at least three characters in length.

  • The search is not case sensitive.

  • When entering the text, spaces are allowed. Leading and trailing spaces will be trimmed, unless the text is enclosed in double quotes. Using single or double quotes inside the search string is not recommended.

  • The search looks for an exact match, so wildcard characters should not be used.

  • It should be noted that the text being searched has been modified from its "raw" form. Special characters for indicating super- and sub-scripts have been removed, so that to search on T1/2 one should use the string "T1/2". Also, special symbols such as Greek characters have been "spelled out" (gamma, LAMBDA, ...) in the text being searched.

Viewing and combining lists

This page, available if two or more queries have been executed, allows one to view and combine previous retrievals. Each retrieval is listed in the order it was performed. To view, use the "View" button to the right of the query description. Output format and year-order will be determined by the drop-down boxes near the top of the page.

To combine lists, use the drop-down boxes to specify the list numbers and the desired operation ("AND", "OR", or "AND NOT"). The resulting list will be generated and displayed when the "Combine" button is pushed.

To clear the list of retrievals, use the "Clear Lists" button at the bottom of the page.

Recent References

The following PDF files have a format similar to that which used to be published in the "Recent References" issues of Nuclear Data Sheets. Entries included in these files contain experimental data on specific isotopes. Each file has two sections. The first, "Keynumbers and Keywords", provides the keyword abstracts and brief bibliographic information, organized by isotope. The second section, "References", includes more complete bibliographic information for each NSR entry.

NSR Link Manager

Users may embed links to NSR reference information in html pages by using the NSR "link manager". The URL for the link should be in the form{keynum}[,{mode}] where {keynum} is a valid eight-character NSR keynumber, and {mode} is an optional retrieval mode specifier consisting of the single character H, X, or B. 'H' specifies html-formatted output, and is the default if no specifier is given. 'X' specifies exchange-format output, and 'B' indicates that the browser should be redirected to the publisher's page for the reference, if a link is available in the database.

For example, the link,X will bring up the NSR entry, in exchange format, corresponding to keynumber 2004HE05. Using the 'B' option:,B will redirect the browser to the publisher's page for the article.

Further information on NSR entries and output formats

Each NSR entry consists of several fields, including Keynumber, Reference, Title, Authors, and Keywords. The keywords are designed to facilitate retrieval of references on specific quantities such as nuclide, reaction, etc. Some entries, such as review articles or general theory papers, may not have keywords assigned.

It should be noted that the NSR database has been in existence, in some form, for several decades. Thus, while an effort has been made to maintain consistency, there will be differences in how entries were prepared by different compilers at different times.

Each set of keywords is prefaced by a "major topic" such as NUCLEAR REACTIONS or RADIOACTIVITY. For historical reasons, most of these refer to the type of experiment being carried out, rather than to the overall results of the paper. For example, papers that use heavy-ion reactions to study high-spin states will have NUCLEAR REACTION keywords rather than NUCLEAR STRUCTURE. In general, NUCLEAR STRUCTURE keywords refer to calculations, or to analysis of previously published data.

In HTML format, an entry will look like the following:


Phys.Lett. 218B, 137 (1989)

P.Fallon, P.Alderson, M.A.Bentley, A.M.Bruce, P.D.Forsyth, D.Howe, J.W.Roberts, J.F.Sharpey-Schafer, P.J.Twin, F.A.Beck, T.Byrski, D.Curien, C.Schuck

Superdeformed Bands in 150Gd and 151Tb: Evidence for the influence of high-N intruder states at large deformations

NUCLEAR REACTIONS 130Te(26Mg, 6n), E=145 MeV; 130Te(27Al, 6n), E=150 MeV; measured γγ-coin, γγ(θ). 150Gd, 151Tb deduced levels, J, π, superdeformed band structure, shapes, moments of inertia.

doi: 10.1016/0370-2693(89)91408-1

First the keynumber is given (1989Fa02), then reference, authors, title (in italics), and keywords. Some entries will also display a "digital object identifier" (doi) link, which will usually take you to the publisher's page for the article.

Greek characters such as γ or other special characters may not display correctly on older browsers. In such cases, users might want to use the "Text" format, in which special characters are "spelled out". The example of the previous entry in text format is:

Phys.Lett. 218B, 137 (1989)
P.Fallon, P.Alderson, M.A.Bentley, A.M.Bruce, P.D.Forsyth, D.Howe,
J.W.Roberts, J.F.Sharpey-Schafer, P.J.Twin, F.A.Beck, T.Byrski,
D.Curien, C.Schuck
Superdeformed Bands in 150Gd and 151Tb: Evidence for the influence
of high-N intruder states at large deformations

NUCLEAR REACTIONS 130Te(26Mg,6n),E=145 MeV; 130Te(27Al,6n),E=150 MeV;
measured gamma gamma-coin,gamma gamma(theta). 150Gd,151Tb deduced
levels,J,pi,superdeformed band structure,shapes,moments of inertia.

A special "BibTex" format is available, for those who want to export NSR entries into a LaTex bibliography. It is important to note that the translation into this format is imperfect, and users should be careful to check and edit the entries as needed before using them. Keyword abstracts are not included. This is an example of the above entry in "BibTex" form:

author="P. {Fallon} and P. {Alderson} and M.A. {Bentley} and A.M. {Bruce} and P.D. {Forsyth} and
D. {Howe} and J.W. {Roberts} and J.F. {Sharpey-Schafer} and P.J. {Twin} and F.A. {Beck} and
T. {Byrski} and D. {Curien} and C. {Schuck}",
title="Superdeformed Bands in $^{150}$Gd and $^{151}$Tb: Evidence for the influence of high-N
intruder states at large deformations",

All NSR output formats are generated from the "exchange" format, which contains a few additional fields and looks like the following:

<KEYNO   >1989FA02
<HISTORY >A19890512 M19920619
<CODEN   >JOUR PYLBB 218 137
<REFRENCE>Phys.Lett. 218B, 137 (1989)
<AUTHORS >P.Fallon, P.Alderson, M.A.Bentley, A.M.Bruce, P.D.Forsyth, D.Howe, J.W
.Roberts, J.F.Sharpey-Schafer, P.J.Twin, F.A.Beck, T.Byrski, D.Curien, C.Schuck
<TITLE   >Superdeformed Bands in {+150}Gd and {+151}Tb: Evidence for the influen
ce of high-N intruder states at large deformations
<KEYWORDS>NUCLEAR REACTIONS {+130}Te({+26}Mg,6n),E=145 MeV; {+130}Te({+27}Al,6n)
,E=150 MeV; measured |g|g-coin,|g|g(|q). {+150}Gd,{+151}Tb deduced levels,J,|p,s
uperdeformed band structure,shapes,moments of inertia.
<SELECTRS>T:130TE;A. R:(26MG,6N);A. N:150GD;A. T:130TE;B. R:(27AL,6N);B. N:151TB
<DOI     >10.1016/0370-2693(89)91408-1

Each line in the exchange format has a fixed length of 80 characters, and the different parts of the entry are separated with tags such as <AUTHORS >. The <HISTORY > field indicates that this entry was added to NSR on May 12, 1989, and last modified on June 19, 1992. The <SELECTRS> field is generated from the keywords, and contains most of the indexed quantities used for searching.

Each element in the selector field consists of a type ("T" for target, "N" for nuclide, etc.), followed by a value ("130TE", "SUP-DEF"), followed by a "link variable". The link variables are used to distinguish between sections of the keywords in boolean searches. For example, a search on "Nuclide=150Gd AND Reaction=(26MG,6N)" would retrieve the above reference, while "Nuclide=151Tb AND Reaction=(26MG,6N)" would not, because 151Tb is associated with link variable "B" and (26MG,6N) is associated with link variable "A".

The DOI field contains publisher-supplied "digital object identifier" information that allows the construction of a web link to the article.

Scope and completeness

In general, articles are included in NSR if they include measured, calculated, or deduced quantitative nuclear structure or reaction data. Papers that apply previously known data are generally not included. Examples of this include neutron activation analysis using known cross sections or radiological dating using known half-lives.

NSR has been in existence for several decades, in various forms. Originally, the focus of the database was on papers related to low-energy nuclear structure studies. Over time, the scope has widened to include more reaction and high-energy references. As a result, some older references may not be included in NSR, even if more current papers covering similar data are included.

As a rule, an effort is made to enter all new primary references that fall within the database scope. In order to avoid undue duplication, not all secondary references (reports, conferences, etc) are entered.

Questions or comments should be directed to