Posted by on Dec 18, 2014 in Blog | 6 comments

“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”

Curiosity is alive among us. With the advent of the participatory patient-centered care movement and the Internet, more and more people are evermore curious about their health and doing research on their health and the health of loved ones.

Medivizor makes the laborious task of finding cutting-edge science that is personally relevant much easier.  Written in language you can understand, the summaries that are provided are also linked to the source material.  The last known publisher’s price tag for the item is included in case you want to delve deeper.

What if you want to read the original source article? What happens next?

Unfortunately, there can be barriers:  the journal articles may cost money, may be difficult to obtain, and obviously, contain complex language (since the material is aimed at scientists and doctors).  Open access is a movement to make more of these articles available for everyone.

In a quest to bring you more of what you are looking for, we’ve done some research on the “how-tos” of gaining access to journal articles.

Here are 8 helpful tips:

1One of the best resources available is the library and librarians, especially university libraries. As PF Anderson, Emerging Technologies Librarian for the University of Michigan Health Sciences Libraries, noted in a twitter chat on the topic


What’s available online?

But what if you are housebound, don’t live near a university, can’t drive or don’t have time to go to the library. What is available online?

2There are ways to find free or low cost journal articles. Often going to Google Scholar and putting the article’s title and journal can get you to an online .pdf copy.

3What if that doesn’t work? Interestingly, there are other ways to get these articles online. Elsevier, a publisher of many scientific and medical journals has a list of open access journals. Click here to find that list. Elsevier uses a tool/website called DeepDyve and you will be redirected to that site to have your request fulfilled. DeepDyve also has a direct monthly pay program to get you articles when you want them.

Stack of journals34For journals that have been archived, there is a list called Free Medical Journals. Click the link to see what is available. Elsevier also has a list of free archived medical journals. Click here to see that.

5Science Direct is another online resource…another part of Elsevier. There is a detailed description of how to obtain copies of articles here.

6An initiative of publishers, ASCO, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), Elsevier, SAGE, Wiley and Wolters Kluwer Health and the Copyright Clearance Center is called PatientACCESS. Here is a description on getting an article from the Journal of Clinical Oncology:

“To obtain an article, follow the steps below.
• Visit the JCO website.
• Browse the table of contents or search for topics of interest. When you find an article you’d like access to, click on the PDF version, then click the link entitled patientACCESS on the bottom of the screen.
• The link will take you to the RightsLink website. You will be asked to enter your email address and password or set up an account if you do not already have one. This is a quick, three step process.
• You will be asked to review and accept the Terms and Conditions.
• You will receive an email confirmation message from Copyright Clearance Center that RightsLink has received your order.
• You will receive the requested article through email within 24 hours as a PDF attachment.”

The link in the above quote explains the pay-per-view option available at RightsLink.

7Another avenue toward articles is PatientINFORM which is a effort by the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers (AAP/PSP) and the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM). There is a list of participating publishers here. A group of healthcare organizations, like the American Diabetes Association, highlight articles in their blogs or news sections. They provide a synopsis and also a link to the article. Here is a list of patient organizations that are involved.

8Finally, patients and caregivers aren’t the only ones trying to get their hands on original articles…middle and high school students involved in science fairs or just interested in science and medicine have been having trouble. They have developed the know-how for conducting research with free online academic search engines and a description of how to get some of the scientific journals they desire. Here is the link to their description.

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”
― Albert Einstein

Have you had any luck with finding original articles? Please share your experiences here with us in the comments section.