Easy access to clinical journals

Journal reading is a cornerstone of physicians’ continuing professional development. A recent survey of Canadian family physicians showed that group learning and journal reading are predominant learning activities.1 The College library provides easy access to a broad range of high-impact clinical journals for College registrants.

College registrants have free access to more than 2,500 online journals through the College library. The titles range across all the medical specialties and include core titles such as The Lancet, BMJ, and CMAJ, and important specialist journals including the American Journal of Psychiatry, American Journal of Sports Medicine, Pediatrics, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Circulation, Cancer, Rheumatology, Canadian Family Physician,  American Family Physician, and Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery

The library subscribes to journals as cost effectively as possible through participation in a province-wide library consortium, the Electronic Health Library of BC, and purchases large journal packages for lower per title costs. Journal subscriptions are often five to 10 times the cost for institutions as for individuals but some prices soar even higher. As a workaround, journals such as New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, JAMA Internal Medicine (formerly Archives of Internal Medicine), other JAMA titles, and Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry have been purchased as in-library-only subscriptions. Registrants may request copies of articles from these journals, and copies are delivered by library staff quickly—typically within the same business day.  

Several points of online access to e-journals are available to registrants:

  • All subscribed journals can be located through the e-journals link on the library’s Books and Journals web page
  • The library’s journal collection is also integrated into medical databases so full-text articles are readily available during a literature search. For example, using the library’s link to PubMed as a starting point for a PubMed search (see Medline via PubMed with full-text articles), the abstracts display of search results provide a blue button that links to the full text where available. 
  • Ask the library staff to arrange for regular tables of contents of your favorite journals to be sent to you. Simply request from the library the full text of any new article of interest.
  • Follow the content of journals through the Read app. Set the institutional access setting to College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC to assess College-subscribed e-journals.

Access to journal articles is almost unlimited whether or not the library has a subscription. The library’s document delivery service locates articles quickly and, generally, without a cost to the registrant.  

Occasionally, interlibrary loan costs may apply; however, the requestor is always advised before staff proceeds with acquiring the article. Registrants with library access are welcome to contact the library through the website’s request forms, email (medlib@cpsbc.ca), phone (604-733-6671), or fax (604-737-8582).

1 Family physicians' continuing professional development activities: current practices and potential for new options. Lindsay E, Wooltorton E, Hendry P, Williams K, Wells G. Can Med Educ J. 2016 Mar 31;7(1):e38-46. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4830372/