Finding papers that use---but never identify---a specific software platform

When you are learning a new research code, it’s really helpful to find out exactly what problems other researchers have solved using it. While these other papers may have focused on slightly different applications, I will typically want to study them to collect all of the tips I can about the sensitivity of certain parameters, numerical stabilization techniques, and any other non-canonical info that would be really helpful. The problem?

Several journals in my field are a bit weird about including the names of commercial software products in papers, presumably to avoid conflicts of interest or a marketing tone. Then there are researchers who (I think) omit the software’s name so it sounds like the implemented the algorithm themselves. Either way, if you are trying to find previous studies on topic XYZ that specifically used Abaqus FEA, this can get a little complex in these cases since the word “Abaqus” never shows up in the paper or abstract.

There are a few ways to find these papers in the haystack. Let’s use Abaqus as our example.

I have used and had success with all of the techniques above. Each of these will yield a different set of articles, the union of which should approach the full body of prior work on your topic using that specific tool.