How can I access medical journal articles online?

Is there any way you can provide a pdf link to the articles you are referencing? I would love to read the full article.

Drew / Originally posted on Meat Hormones & Female Infertility


Whenever available I always try to provide PDF links to the full-text of the papers in the Sources Cited section beneath each video.

More and more journal publishers are joining the “open access” movement to provide unrestricted online access (check out this graph to see the trend). Since many studies are taxpayer-funded, it only makes sense that we should have access to the results, right? Unfortunately, there are some holdouts, journals that continue to charge readers exorbitant rates to view papers they publish. In this case, you’re left with a few options:

  1. You can check WorldCat to see if there are any local institutions that have the journal in question (such as university libraries that may allow the public to browse).
  2. You can also request a copy (so-called “reprint”) from the author (usually they list a contact email address in the PubMed abstracts to which I link).
  3. Worse comes to worst, you can pay on the journal website or order it for a fee through the federal Loansome Doc program.

I’m privileged to live biking distance from the National Library of Medicine and so have easy access to just about everything, but unfortunately it’s not legal for me to directly share copyright protected materials. Otherwise I would post all the papers on the site!

Image Credit: CCAC North Library / Flickr

  • Lew Payne

    Another hint… enroll as a part-time student at your local university. Most university libraries have electronic subscriptions to medical and research databases, or have “loan” programs by which you may view articles of interest for free.

    For example, Boise State University spends more than $125,000 in annual publication and database subscriptions. Even though I’m 52, I’ve enrolled as a student, giving me access to the databases at a fraction of the cost. For articles not covered (British Journals), I was able to place a request with the library. They then obtained copyright clearance, and in a few weeks I had a PDF of the article waiting for download!

  • Karen

    Hello. Thank you for supporting the Open Access Movement. Another possibility is for people to request a copy through their local public library. They can obtain a document through Interlibrary Loan. There may be a fee for this, but generally it will be far less than the cost of paying for the article at the publisher’s website. Most public universities allow “walk-in” use of their public computers, and there are reference staff available to help you figure out how to find and view the article yourself. Usually it will be possible to print a copy (perhaps for a small copying or printing fee.) Some places may allow one to download a copy, so bring a thumb drive with you when you go.

    Please write your congressional representatives and request that they support open access to government (taxpayer)- funded research. Commercial publishers continually lobby Congress members very hard to rescind even the small amount of access we enjoy today.

  • While the copyright legality for sharers is murky, will often link to full-text copies in both medicine as well as related fields like food/nutrition without PubMed coverage.

    The public access situation for NIH-funded research has improved dramatically, as manuscript submissions to PubMed Central has been a statuatory requirement since 2008, and as of spring 2013, the NIH has begun delaying continuing grants to researchers who don’t comply.

  • how about PubMed?

    • jazzfeed

      GreenMed Info reindexes PubMed for your search convenience -excellent.

  • Calvin Leman

    Research Articles on rhubarb nutrition?

  • Van

    Your local public library probably has online access to full text for most of the journals you will want. I use the Hawaii Library System – just log onto their site with your library card (you need to get a password at the library), and then look for a link. Here it is called “Databases”, and you get access to among other things, Academic Search Premier, with abstracts for >8000 journals, and full text (PDF) for >4500.
    I also did this with the King County Library when I lived in Seattle.
    Libraries are amazing….

  • Sarah Mosca

    What would be the best source to review medicines that have been tested on vegans? We are finding that our rarely needed prescription drugs are behaving differently for us with more side affects than desired.