It is an unfortunate state that despite the emergence of the internet, much of the published scientific research of the world remain locked behind pay walls. This may be slowly changing with some traditional medical journals giving unrestricted access to research articles, or access to the high-impact articles. A few open access journals/publishers such as the Public Library of Science (PLoS) and BioMed Central (BMC) exist, but relatively few high impact articles are published in these journals. Journal article abstracts are available and searchable through excellent search engines (e.g., PubMed and Google Scholar) but the full-text remains inaccessible to the public.
You should never use journal articles abstracts alone as a basis for clinical decisions in primary health care; this is not evidence based medicine.
So, how does an Australian general practitioner access full-text articles?
Become a clinical affiliate with your local university/medical school
Most universities/medical schools have institutional subscriptions to the majority of medical journals that is available via the internet to its students, staff and conjoint academics. This is the best method of long-term access to the widest range of full-text journals and there are advantages beyond journal access in having a relationship with a university.
Use the RACGP John Murtagh Library
If you are a member of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, then you have access to the John Murtagh Library. You can contact the library for copies of journals. The library also has some limited access to full-text journals through ProQuest (you need to be logged into the RACGP website; ProQuest full-text database access can be accessed through the John Murtagh Library link).
Contact the administrator
The administrator of Morsels of Evidence holds copies of the source articles used for the reviews. If you wish to obtain a copy of the journal article for a purpose that satisfies one of the main exceptions to the Australian Copyright Act 1986 or Copyright Amendment Act 2006:
- review or criticism
- research or study
- judicial proceedings or professional legal advice
- parody or satire
… then you can e-mail the administrator through the contact page, or at admin(at)evidencebasedmedicine.com.au.