Amputation. Etching. Thomas Rowlandson, 1785. Courtesy of the Countway Library of Medicine, Harvard University.

Another malpractice case?

How to locate that on-point medical journal article you've got to have.

Say that you've come across a medical journal article in a list of references, the title of which looks to be supportive to your important medical case, and you want it. So how do you go about getting a copy? If you're lucky, the article might be free for the taking, linked to a PubMed or Google Scholar citation. And know that the links in PubMed to free journal articles are not complete. Occasionally clicking on the link from a PubMed citation to a publisher's Website will give you the pleasant surprise of producing your desired article free of charge, even though PubMed didn't indicate this happy fact. Another way of locating your desired article is to Google the name of the source journal in quotes, for example, "American Family Physician", which should take you to the publisher's Website. You would find in this case that the contents of American Family Physician from 1998 to twenty-four months ago are downloadable free.

When searching for a medical journal article at a publisher's Website, one often learns that a subscription to the journal is required. Shucks! Many publishers, however, offer pay-per-view access to their journals' contents. Depending on the publisher, greedy or not, the prices for these pay-per-view articles range from very reasonable to exorbitant.

The contents of some medical journals are available free after a period of time, often after six or twelve months. For locating journals with free content, the following Websites can be helpful:

Free Medical Journals
PubMed Central

Perusing these lists of journals at the above Websites, you will see that most are not digitally available back more than twenty or thirty years, but there are certainly exceptions. Older print sources might be obtainable from academic medical libraries or larger hospital libraries.

And lastly, here is a long-shot approach for possibly finding that elusive article. Google the title of the article in quotes. Very occasionally, someone has put an article out there free for the taking, even though the publisher wants money for it.

Good luck finding that important journal article that might help you win your case!

Expert Medical Literature Research for Attorneys
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Lancaster, PA 17603-4938
(717) 397-6701


This Tips for Attorneys page was last updated with links verified by MedMatters on September 10, 2021.

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