April 2013 - Electronic Libraries Guide


Electronic Health Care/Medical Libraries on the Internet

A Guide to Electronic Health Care/Medical Libraries on the Internet

Compiled by: Irina Ibraghimova, Library and Information Management Specialist, HealthConnect International

The guide was produced by the American International Health Alliance as part if its Learning Resource Centers project.

This guide provides information on how to obtain access to a variety of full-text health and medical journals, books, and other resources. The following on-line resources are included:

  • International and National Projects
    • HINARI. Access to Research in Health Programme
    • Programme for the Enhancement of Research Information (PERii)
    • Access to Research for Development and Innovation (ARDI)
  • Journal Articles and Books Collections
    • African Index Medicus
    • BIOLINE – International
    • BioMed Central
    • BLDS Digital Library
    • Directory of Open Access Journals
    • Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB)
    • Free Medical Books
    • Free Medical Journals
    • Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research - Free Medical Journals
    • HighWire Press Free Online Full-text Articles
    • HighWire Press Free Access to Developing Economies
    • LSHTM Research Online
    • Medicalstudent.com - Medical Textbooks
    • Medknow
    • Medscape
    • Meducation.net
    • National Academies Press
    • PLoS
    • PubMed Bookshelf
    • PubMed Central
    • PubMed Free Link Out Journals
    • SciELO Public Health
    • ScienceDirect
    • WHO Medicines Bookshelf
  • EBM resources
    • Cochrane Library
    • BMJ Clinical Evidence
    • WHO Reproductive Health Library
  • Full-text Internet Resources Search Tools
    • FreeFullPDF
    • OAIster
    • Open Access Theses and Dissertations
    • Open Science Directory
    • Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR)

The guide is annually updated. The current version is available at:

Last updated: April 2013

International and National Projects


HINARIAccess to Research in Health Programme


Full texts of more than 11,400 medical journals, 18,500 e-books, and 70 other full-text resources: CINAHL, Bloodmed, British National Formulary, Clinical Evidence, The Cochrane Library, Duodecim, EBM Guidelines, Encyclopedia of Life Sciences, Eurekah.com, Gastrohep, Hematology--ASH Education Program Book, Landes Bioscience, Oxford Textbook of Medicine, Red Book Online (AAP), WHO Model Formulary, WHO Reproductive Health Library and others in 30 languages.

Terms and Conditions of Access

Local, not-for-profit institutions in two groups of countries may register for access to the publications through HINARI. The country lists are based on three factors: GNI per capita (World Bank figures), United Nations Least Developed Country (LDCs) List and Human Development Index (HDI). Institutions in countries with at least one of the following criteria may be eligible for free access: inclusion in the LDCs; an HDI of less than 0.63; or GNI per capita at or below $1600. Institutions in countries that do not match at least one of the above criteria and with either a GNI per capita less than $5000 or HDI at or below 0.67 may be eligible to pay a fee of $1000 per year.

Eligible categories of institutions are: national universities, research institutes, professional schools (medicine, nursing, pharmacy, public health, dentistry), teaching hospitals, government offices and national medical libraries, other not-for-profit institutions. All staff members and students are entitled to access to the journals.

If your institution is in a Group A (free access) country, then HINARI is free. If your institution is in a Group B (low-cost access) country, HINARI costs US $1000 per institution per calendar year (from January through December). All institutions registering from Group B countries are entitled to a six month trial.

If your institution is in Group B (low-cost access) country, and you cannot or choose not to pay the annual fee, your institution will still be eligible for free access to a number of information resources.


Program for the Enhancement of Research Information (PERii phase 2)

Program for the Enhancement of Research Information PERii is the second five-year phase of INASPs Programme for the Enhancement of Research Information. The objectives of the program are to: facilitate the acquisition of international information and knowledge; improve access to research through the promotion of national and regional journals; provide awareness or training in the use, evaluation and management of electronic information and communication technologies (ICTs); enhance skills in the preparation, production and management of journals. In facilitating the acquisition of full text online journals, current awareness databases and document delivery INASP (International Network of the Availability of Scientific Publications) has been working with individual publishers, 'packagers' of information and consolidating subscription agents.

Among Current INASP projects are:

Free and Open Access Links – this page provides links to: programmes and initiatives complementary to PERii; the INASP Directory of Organisations; Open Access resources available to all; and online resources that are freely available to researchers in developing and emerging countries. The free and Open Access resources are sub-divided as multi-disciplinary or subject specific

PERii: Information Delivery - Provides researchers with access to international scholarly literature based on electronic delivery

PERii: Library Development - Develops digital services, ensures access to, and training in, exploiting and accessing resources

23,000+ journals, 7000 ebooks from international publishers across all disciplines,

Terms and Conditions of Access
Access is usually provided to organizations participating in local library consortia.

Access to Research for Development and Innovation (ARDI)

The Access to Research for Development and Innovation (ARDI) program provides free online access to major scientific and technical journals to local, not-for-profit institutions in least-developed countries and low-cost access to industrial property offices in developing countries across the world.


Terms and Conditions of Access
Local, not-for-profit academic and research institutions and national intellectual property offices in two groups of countries may register for access to resources made available through ARDI. The groups of countries are generally based on three factors: gross national income (GNI) per capita, Human Development Index (HDI) figures, and United Nations Least
Developed Country (LDC) status. For institutions based in Group A countries, access through ARDI is free. For institutions based in Group B countries, access through ARDI is available for 1000 US dollars per institution per calendar year (from January through December). Institutions based in Group B countries may benefit from a six-month free trial period. Group A (free access) among others includes the following countries: Ethiopia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zambia.


Journal Articles and Book Collections

African Index Medicus

African Index MedicusThe World Health Organization, in collaboration with the Association for Health Information and Libraries in Africa (AHILA), produces an international index to African health literature and information sources.

The database includes journal articles from more than 130 African medical journals, also monographs, technical reports and other types of documents. Records include abstracts and links to full text (if available). Articles on or related to Africa and published in other regional or international journals are also indexed.

Terms and Conditions of Access:
Access is free.


Bioline InternationalBioline International is a collaborative initiative of the University of Toronto Libraries, Canada (management office), the Reference Center on Environmental Information, Brazil (host computer and software development) and Bioline/UK (liaison).



Open access to quality research journals published in developing countries on health care (including tropical medicine, infectious diseases, epidemiology, emerging new diseases), biodiversity, the environment, conservation and international development. Peer-reviewed journals from Brazil, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and other countries (about 30 journals).

Terms and Conditions of Access:
Access is free.

BioMed Central

BioMed CentralBioMed Central Publishing House


BioMed Central is a publishing house that grants access to peer-reviewed publications on biomedical studies. BioMed Central publishes on-line journals covering all fields of biology and medicine.

Terms and Conditions of Access:

Free access to 250 open access peer-reviewed journals and research articles in the rest of the BioMed Central journals, which can be accessed in full by subscribers for a charge. The registered users can personalize the contents of the Web site to focus on those articles in the fields of particular interest to them and receive e-mail updates

Registration is free.

BLDS Digital Library

BLDS Digital LibraryBLDS - the largest collection of economic and social development materials in Europe


150 free online journals and newsletters from development organisations and research institutes Full-text copies of developing country research from the shelves of the British Library for Development Studies (BLDS). These publications have been made available online to a global audience through partnership agreements between BLDS and research institutes in Africa and Asia. Includes publications on health and social care issues.

Terms and Conditions of Access:
Free access. BLDS Document Delivery service can also supply you with copies of journal articles and parts of books from its whole collection, by post or email. Researchers in developing and transition countries may be able to use this service for free

Directory of Open Access Journals

Directory of open access journalsDirectory of Open Access Journals is hosted by Lund University Libraries Head Office . The project is funded by Open Society Institute - Budapest and also supported by SPARC (The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition). The aim of the Directory of Open Access Journals is to increase the visibility and ease of use of open access scientific and scholarly journals thereby promoting their increased usage and impact. The Directory aims to be comprehensive and cover all open access scientific and scholarly journals that use a quality control system to guarantee the content.


This service covers free, full text, quality controlled scientific and scholarly journals. Its aim is to cover all subjects and languages. There are now 8930 journals in the directory (medicine –548, public health – 224, nursing – 48, dentistry – 97, social work - 15). Currently 4500 journals are searchable on article level. As of today 1,066,000 articles are included in the DOAJ service.

Terms and Conditions of Access:
Access is free.

Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB)

The primary aim of DOAB is to increase discoverability of Open Access books. Academic publishers are invited to provide metadata of their Open Access books to DOAB. Metadata will be harvestable in order to maximize dissemination, visibility and impact. Aggregators can integrate the records in their commercial services and libraries can integrate the directory into their online catalogues, helping scholars and students to discover the books. The directory will be open to all publishers who publish academic, peer reviewed books in Open Access and should contain as many books as possible, provided that these publications are in Open Access and meet academic standards.

DOAB provides a searchable index to peer-reviewed monographs and edited volumes published under an Open Access business model, with links to the full texts of the publications at the publisher’s website or repository. It includes 1408 academic peer-reviewed books from 48 publishers.

Terms and Conditions of Access
Access is free

Free Medical Journals

Free Medical JournalsA project of Bernd Sebastian Kamps


The database contains information on 3630 medical journals in various languages (with free access during the first one to six months or one to two years after publication). If you wish to be informed about new free journals, you may subscribe to Journal Alert.

Terms and Conditions of Access:
Access is free.

Free Medical Books – Free Books for Doctors

Free Medical BooksA project of Bernd Sebastian Kamps


The database contains information on 360 medical textbooks, monographs and reference books available on the Internet in various languages.

Terms and Conditions of Access:
Access is free.

The Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research - Free Medical Journals

The Geneva FoundationThe Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research (GFMER) is a non-profit organization established in 2002. It is supported by the Department of Health of the Canton of Geneva, the Department of Social Affairs of the City of Geneva, the Faculty of Medicine, Geneva University, and the Geneva Medical Association, and works in close collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO). GFMER is a WHO Collaborating Centre in Education and Research in Human Reproduction

The database contains information on medical journals in various languages (with free access during the first one to six months, one to two years after publication, or with some free content available). The links are organized by 65 medical topics, and you can also search by keywords.

Terms and Conditions of Access:
Access is free.

HighWire Press Free Online Full-text Articles

HighWire Free Online Full-Text ArticlesA project of the Stanford University libraries


This List is limited to journals published online with the assistance of HighWire Press. The participating journals focus on science, technology and medicine and are among the most influential publications. The approach to the on-line publication of journals taken by HighWire Press is not limited to the simple creation of electronic images of printed pages. The electronic versions complement the information in printed journals by links to Internet resources, extensive search capabilities, high-resolution images, multimedia and interactive tools. The freely accessible database contains more than 2,236,000 free full-text articles. There are 51 sites with free trial periods, and 73 completely free sites. 280 sites have free back issues. HighWire Press is, therefore, the world's largest archive of articles on life sciences. You can search across all the journals in the database, choose topics of interest or browse the resources by topic. You can also find the journals that provide RSS feeds.

Terms and Conditions of Access:
Access is free.

HighWire Press Free Access to Developing Economies

HighWire Free Access to Developing EconomiesA project of the Stanford University libraries


Journals and books on life and social sciences, including 350 leading medical journals (published online with the assistance of HighWire Press).

Terms and Conditions of Access:
Access is free for low-income countries, plus Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Djibouti, Georgia, Indonesia, Turkmenistan, and Ukraine. Individual publishers use the list from the World Bank as a guideline for determining their policies, so some variation in access per publisher does occur.

Not needed as the software will automatically identify the country from which the Web site is accessed.

LSHTM Research Online

The institutional repository for the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. It is a freely accessible online database of the research outputs produced by the school.

It currently has over 19,000 bibliographic records and 2,000 full text articles

Terms and Conditions of Access
Where possible it provides access to the full text of research articles, where they are unable to provide the full text, they hold the bibliographical information and provide links to where the full text can be accessed. While each full text item remains the property of the copyright holder reuse of the material within LSHTM Research Online is permitted for private and non commercial study. Multiple search and export options.

MedicalStudent.com – Medical Textbooks



MedicalStudent.com uses the following criteria for World-Wide Web site selection: 1) The site is selected by a process of peer review by accreditation, because accreditation models are designed for works that change over time. To become accredited, a site must clearly display four core quality standards: a. Authorship, including the author's name, affiliation, and credentials. b. Attribution of facts through the listing of references. c. Disclosure of site ownership and sponsorship. d. Currency of the site by listing dates of content posting and updating. 2) The site must be free to use, in part or in whole. 3) The site's information must be primarily in Hypertext Markup Language format (HTML) so that it can be read by users with the lowest common denominator World-Wide Web browser.

Terms of Access:
Free access


Medknow PublicationsMedknow Publications (India)


Medknow Publications publishes peer-reviewed scholarly journals indexed with most international A&I databases. Majority of these journals provide immediate free access to the full text of articles in HTML format. The journals also permit authors' self-archiving. “Medknow Publications” is the largest publisher in India for academic and scientific biomedical journals, which does not charge author or author institution for submission, processing or publication of articles. Now the collection includes 254 peer-reviewed scholarly medical journals.

Terms and Conditions of Access:
Access to HTML version is free, PDF access is also free for most of the journals in the developing world.



Medscape is built around practice-oriented content. Each of 36 Specialty Sites pools, filters, and delivers pertinent, continually updated content from more than 125 medical journals and textbooks, and expert-authored state-of-the-art surveys in disease management, next-day summaries from major medical meetings, and more.

Terms and Conditions of Access:
Access is free, but requires a one-time membership registration.


The National Academies PressThe National Academies Press (NAP) was created by the National Academies to publish the reports issued by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council, all operating under a charter granted by the Congress of the United States.


The NAP publishes more than 200 books a year on a wide range of topics in science, engineering, and health, capturing the most authoritative views on important issues in science and health policy. Health and Medicine research at the National Academies focuses on issues affecting the health of the public, including population-based public health measures and the public health infrastructure. It also ensures that there is adequate attention to the science base underlying health and health care, as national and international needs evolve and change. The public and private policies and institutional relations that shape health sciences research and policy or facilitate application of new knowledge are of particular concern.

Terms and Conditions of Access:
All PDF books are now free to download

PLoS - The Public Library of Science

The Public Library of ScienceThe Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a non-profit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource.


PLoS Medicine is an open-access, peer-reviewed medical journal published monthly, online.

PLoS ONE is an open-access, peer-reviewed medical journal publishing reports on primary research from any scientific discipline.

PLoS Genetics is an open-access, peer-reviewed journal published weekly

PLoS Pathogens publishes important new ideas on bacteria, fungi, parasites, prions, and viruses that contribute to our understanding of the biology of pathogens and pathogen-host interactions.

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases is an open access journal devoted to neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). The journal publishes high quality, peer-reviewed research on all scientific, medical, and public health aspects of these forgotten diseases affecting the world’s forgotten people.

Terms and Conditions of Access:
PLoS users are free to read, copy, distribute, and enjoy the content without limits and at no charge. Crediting the author and original source is all that is required in return.


POPLINE® contains the world’s most comprehensive collection of population, family planning and related reproductive health and development literature. An international resource, POPLINE helps program managers, policy makers, and service providers in low- and middle-income countries and in development-supportive agencies and organizations gain access to scientific articles, reports, books, and unpublished documents. POPLINE is a free resource, maintained by the Knowledge for Health (K4Health) Project at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health/Center for Communication Programs and is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

POPLINE contains more than 345,000 records, and consists of bibliographic citations and abstracts to a variety of materials including journal articles and other scientific, technical, and programmatic publications as well as unpublished documents and project reports (gray literature). Most documents published after 2000 contain links to full-text. A variety of materials including journal articles and other scientific, technical, and programmatic publications as well as unpublished documents and project reports (gray literature).

Terms and Conditions of Access
POPLINE provides links to the free full text of documents. For low- and middle-incomecountry users who have little or no Internet access, POPLINE delivers the full text directly (by e-mail or regular mail).

PubMed Bookshelf

PubMed BookshelfU.S. National Medical Library (NML)


A collection of more than 1250 biomedical books that can be searched directly or from linked data in other NCBI databases. The collection includes biomedical textbooks, reports, and other scientific titles, genetic resources such as GeneReviews, and NCBI help manuals.

Terms and Conditions of Access:
Free access. You may browse and search across all content, or one book at a time.

PubMed Central

PubMed CentralU.S. National Medical Library (NML)


An electronic archive of journal articles on life sciences established and supported by the National Biotechnology Information Center (NBIC) under the NML. Currently includes more than 3000 journals with 2.7 million articles. When searching in the PubMed Medline search engine, you will get a link to full texts of those articles available in the archive. PubMed Central aims to fill the role of a world class library in the digital age. Participation by publishers in PubMed Central (PMC) is voluntary, although participating journals must meet certain editorial standards. Journals are encouraged to deposit all their content (and not just research papers or other selected material) in PMC so that the archive becomes a true digital counterpart to NLM's extensive collection of print journals. PMC also has the author manuscripts of articles published by NIH-funded researchers in various non-PMC journals

The value of PubMed Central, in addition to its role as an archive, lies in what can be done when data from diverse sources is stored in a common format in a single repository. With PubMed Central, one can quickly search the entire body of full-text articles and locate relevant material regardless of its source. It also makes it possible to integrate the literature with a variety of other information resources such as sequence databases and other factual databases that are available to scientists, clinicians and everyone else interested in the life sciences.

Terms and Conditions of Access:
Access to the resources is free and unlimited.

PubMed Free Link Out journals

U.S. National Medical Library (NML)


PubMed Link Out option provides lists of journals with free content. The catalogue contains now information about more than 10420 journals with all/some free full-text content.

Terms and Conditions of Access:
Access to this resource is free

SciELO Public Health (Scientific Electronic Library Online)


This electronic online library covers articles published by 1.052 scientific journals. It provides universal and integrated access to 29 scientific journals in the health science area within Ibero-american countries. SciELO interface provides access to its serials collection via an alphabetic list of titles or a subject index or a search by word of serial titles, publisher names, city of publication and subject. The interface also provides access to the full text of articles via author index or subject index or a search form on article elements such as author names, words from title, subject and words from the full text.

Terms and Conditions of Access:
Access to this resource is free


ScienceDirectElsevier Science Publishing House

Journals on medicine, sciences and technology. Databases and reference publications.

Terms and Conditions of Access:
Unsubscribed users (guest users) are offered free access to 150 health sciences/medical journals (those are marked as "Full-text available") and to tables of contents and abstracts from the other journals. Selected issues of other journals are also available for free.

EBM resources

The Cochrane Library

The Cochrane LibraryResources:

The Cochrane Library is a collection of databases that contain high-quality, independent evidence to inform healthcare decision-making. Cochrane reviews represent the highest level of evidence on which to base clinical treatment decisions. In addition to Cochrane reviews, The Cochrane Library provides other sources of reliable information, from other systematic review abstracts, technology assessments, economic evaluations and individual clinical trials – all the current evidence in one single environment

Terms and Conditions of Access:

Residents in a number of countries or regions can access The Cochrane Library online for free through a ‘provision’ or a special scheme. The Cochrane Library is available with free one-click access to all residents of countries in the World Bank’s list of low-income economies (countries with a gross national income (GNI) per capita of less that $1000). Access to The Cochrane Library for low-income countries is via Wiley IP recognition, a system which recognizes the country a user is in. Access to The Cochrane Library is also available via the HINARI and INASP programs, which provide additional support to low-income countries. Residents from other countries have access to abstracts of systematic reviews, and plain language summaries.

BMJ Clinical Evidence

Clinical EvidenceBMJ Publishing Group Limited, UK


Clinical Evidence is a new kind of decision-support resource, it summarises the current state of knowledge and uncertainty about the prevention and treatment of clinical conditions, based on thorough searches and appraisal of the literature. It is neither a textbook of medicine nor a set of guidelines. It describes the best available evidence from systematic reviews, RCTs, and observational studies where appropriate, and if there is no good evidence it says so.

Terms and Conditions of Access:
Free access is provided if you are accessing this site from within a developing country (low and lower middle income economies)

The WHO Reproductive Health Library (RHL)

The WHO Reproductive Health LibraryAn electronic annual review journal published by the Department of Reproductive Health and Research of the WHO. RHL takes the best available evidence on sexual and reproductive health from Cochrane systematic reviews and presents it as practical actions for clinicians (and policy-makers) to improve health outcomes, especially in developing countries.


Full text of selected Cochrane systematic reviews; independent expert commentaries on single or a collection of related Cochrane reviews - RHL commentaries; practical advice on implementation of findings of each Cochrane review - RHL practical aspects; a complete list of interventions evaluated in RHL, classified by the degree of their effectiveness - Effectiveness summaries; a set of training videos to help clinicians master details of manual and surgical procedures - RHL videos; a set of published journal articles and other materials to help understand and practice evidence-based sexual and reproductive health care - Evidence-based medicine resources.

Terms and Conditions of Access:
Access to full-text of systematic reviews is free of charge for low-income countries. Other resources (including abstracts of systematic reviews and evidence summaries) are free for all.

Full-text Internet Resources Search Tools




The aim of FreeFullPDF.com is to increase the visibility and ease of use of open access scientific journals, theses, posters and patents. FreeFullPDF.com was developed by KnowMade SARL - a Technology Intelligence company specialized in the research and analysis of scientific and technical information. Many scientific subjects, including medicine are covered. All content is freely available in PDF format


The OAIster DatabaseA project of the University of Michigan Digital Library Production Service


OAIster is an index to academically-oriented "digital resources" available for free from more than 1100 libraries and other organizations. It contains now more than 23 million records. OAIster offers information that links to hidden digital resources such as the complete contents of books and articles, technical reports, preprints, white papers, images, movies, and audio files. It retrieves these directly from the collections of a variety of institutions using harvesting technology based on the Open Archives Initiative (OAI) Protocol.

Search options
You can search for any word within the document, or you can limit your search to the document title, author, subject, language or type of material (audio, video, text and so on).

Search results display
The search results page includes a detailed description of each item, along with a link you can click to get a copy of the item.

Open Access Theses and Dissertations

OATD aims to be the best possible resource for finding open access graduate theses and dissertations published around the world.

Metadata (information about the theses) comes from over 600 colleges, universities, and research institutions. OATD currently indexes over 1.5 million theses and dissertations. The index is limited to records of graduate-level theses that are freely available online.

Search options
Search could be performed by keywords, title, author, publisher, and limited by language and publication date

Open Science Directory

The Open Science Directory has been developed by EBSCO and the Hasselt University Library to create a global search tool for all open access and special programs journal titles

About 13000 scientific journals are now available in the 'Open Science Directory'. When all the special program journals will be included, the Open Science Directory will contain more than 20000 titles

Search options
You can search by words in the title, author and publisher, or browse by subject

Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR)

ROAR is promoting open access to the research pre- and post-peer-review literature through author self-archiving in institutional e-print archives

This registry has two functions: (1) to monitor overall growth in the number of eprint archives and (2) to maintain a list of GNU EPrints sites (the software Southampton University has designed to facilitate self-archiving). It includes now information about more than 3300 open access repositories.

Search options
You can search/browse by country, archive type (e-journals, e-thesis, data bases, etc.) or by archive software.