February 2014 - 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 Resources 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
    • Access to Research for Development and Innovation (ARDI)
    • Scientific Electronic Library (Russia)
  • Journal Articles and Books Collections
    • African Index Medicus
    • BIOLINE – International
    • BioMed Central
    • BLDS Digital Library
    • Directory of Open Access Books 
    • Directory of Open Access Journals
    • FreeBookCentre.net
    • Free Medical Books
    • Free Medical Journals
    • F1000Posters
    • 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
    • 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 regularly updated. 

Last updated: February 2014

International and National Projects


HINARIAccess to Research in Health Programme


Full texts of more than 8500 medical journals , and 7000 databases, encyclopedias, reference books, compendia, and other full-text resources: CINAHL, Bloodmed, British National Formulary, The Cochrane Library, Duodecim, EBM Guidelines, Encyclopedia of Life Sciences, Eurekah.com, Gastrohep, Hematology--ASH Education Program Book, Landes Bioscience, Oxford Textbook of Medicien, Red Book Online (AAP), WHO Model Formulary, WHO Reproductive Health Library and others in 30 languages. The web-site is available in 7 languages.

The WHOs HINARI programme now contains over 25,000 e-books. Not all of these eBooks are related to health professionals and of those that are available many are too specialized. As there is no 'searching' or 'cataloging' capability on HINARI you can use a 'HINARI medical library' filter to enable students/residents or other professionals better
access to relevant material. This can be found at: 

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 four factors: Total GNI (World Bank figures), GNI per capita (World Bank figures), United Nations Least Developed Country (LDCs) List and Human Development Index (HDI).

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.


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.



Scientific Electronic Library (Russia)

A project of the Russian Foundation for Fundamental Studies


Full-text electronic versions of 3200 Russian scientific journals (including 2000 open access titles).

Terms and Conditions of Access

Though most journals and databases are available to all registered organizations, some publishers only grant access to a limited number of organizations or charge fees. Any organization irrespective of its status, business area, ownership pattern or geographical location can register itself with the eLibrary.ru server. Individuals can also register and get free access to many journal articles.


Simple one time registration for individuals.

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 55 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 258 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 - 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 Books (DOAB)

The Directory of Open Access Books is a service of OAPEN Foundation. The OAPEN Foundation is an international initiative dedicated to Open Access monograph publishing, based at the National Library in The Hague. The Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) is a discovery service for peer reviewed books published under an open access licence. DOAB provides a searchable index to the information about these books, with links to the full texts of the publications at the publisher's website or repository.



1879 academic peer-reviewed books from 57 publishers..


Directory of Open Access Journals

Directory 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.


TThis service covers free, full text, quality controlled scientific and scholarly journals. Its aim is to cover all subjects and languages. There are now 9700 journals in the directory (medicine –2270, public health – 230, nursing –80). Currently 5600 journals are searchable on article level. As of today 1,570,000 articles are included in the DOAJ service.

Terms and Conditions of Access:
Access is free.


Freebookcentre.net contains links to thousands of free online technical books.


The web-site includes links to free e-books and guides on Medical Sciences, some of the resources in this section can be viewed online and some of them can be downloaded.

Terms and Conditions of Access
Access is free.

Free Medical Journals

A project of Bernd Sebastian Kamps


The database contains information on 4000 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 350 medical textbooks, monographs and reference books available on the Internet in various languages.

Terms and Conditions of Access:
Access is free.


F1000Posters is published by F1000 Research Ltd, which is a member of the Science Navigation Group. F1000Posters provides a permanent, structured environment for the deposition of posters and slide presentations as well as a trustworthy venue for ongoing discussion and development of the information being presented.



F1000Posters is a unique open access repository for more than 5700 posters and slide presentations across biology and medicine.

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 2,300,000 free full-text articles. There are 39 sites with free trial periods, and 96 completely free sites. 270 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 is a publisher for peer-reviewed, online/print+online journals in the area of STM. Medknow is the largest open access publisher publishing on behalf of learned societies and associations. Medknow pioneers in 'fee-less-free' model of open accesspublishing and provides immediate free access to the electronic editions of the journals majority of which do not charge the author or author's institution for submission, processing or publication of the articles. Now the collection includes 185 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 370,000 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 1000 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 3200 journals with 3 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 9800 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 1140 scientific journals. It provides universal and integrated access to 365 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. You can navigate to the list of open access journals from the ScienceDirect homepage by clicking the link for our "Open Access Journal Directory" or bookmarking http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/browse/all/open-access. In addition to 56 open access
journals, they give authors the option to publish open-access articles in over 1,600 of our established journals. Find a list of these journals on the ScienceDirect homepage by clicking "View all publications with Open Access articles." Once you are in the publication list, you can limit your results to open-access journals or journals that contain open-access articles by selecting the appropriate filter checkboxes..

Terms and Conditions of Access:

Unsubscribed users (guest users) are offered free access to 100 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. The easiest way to find relevant open-access articles is to search ScienceDirect.  By keying in your search terms, you will be able to identify any relevant open-access articles in your search results by looking for the label "Open Access."

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 lowincome countries. Residents from other countries have access to abstracts of systematic reviews and to other resources.

All Cochrane Systematic Reviews and updates published from February 2013 available open access twelve months after publication in the Cochrane Database of Systematic  Reviews, and in PubMed Central or various country-specific PubMed databases. Additionally, authors and funders have the option to fund individual articles, or groups of articles,  to be open access immediately upon publication.


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


A 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 1500 libraries and other organizations. It contains now more than 30 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.

You can click a box on the left side of any of the search result items and then click the "Email checked results" or "Export checked results" to produce a list of the articles you have selected

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 800 colleges, universities, and research institutions. OATD currently indexes over 1.9 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 3600 open access repositories.

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