Throughout 2021 we have been sharing some tips on how to use the PEDro Advanced Search. The tenth tip is “Access full text using links in PEDro”.
Access to full-text copies of research articles is essential for translating research into practice. Full-text articles are needed to appraise the quality and applicability of research for a clinical question. They are also needed for a detailed description of the intervention. Access to full-text articles is crucial for all health professionals trying to provide evidenced-based care.
When a PEDro search locates an article of interest, clicking on the title hyperlink brings up its “Detailed Search Results” page. We have recently estimated the percentage of articles in PEDro that have free full-text access via these links. Access to free full text was available for 60% (95% confidence interval 53% to 67%) of the articles sampled. This is higher than the free full-text access that was available via PubMed (47%, 95% confidence interval 40% to 54%).
We provide up to 5 links to full text for each article in PEDro. The number of links will depend on whether the article is indexed in PubMed or PubMed Central, if the article has a DOI number, and if the journal has a website. These links may be to free full text, or you may need a subscription to the journal or to pay to view the article. Access to free full text is determined by the journal publishers. The links to full text in PEDro are listed in order of likelihood for accessing free full text. With links at the top of the list being more likely to link to free full text than the links at the end of the list. The links are:
- PubMed Central
PubMed Central is a free full-text archive of biomedical journal literature produced by the United States National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine. It contains over 6 million full-text articles that have been published in journals that have an agreement with PubMed Central to archive their content. Clicking on the “PubMed Central” link on the PEDro “Detailed Search Results” page will take you directly to the article in PubMed Central. You may be able to view the full-text article on this website or open the article in Portable Document Format (PDF) by clicking on a link.
This is the acronym for Digital Object Identifier, a unique alphanumeric string assigned by the International DOI Foundation to identify content and provide a persistent link to its location on the internet. Clicking on the “DOI” link on the PEDro “Detailed Search Results” page will take you directly to the article on the journal’s website. Not all journals will allow you to access full text free of charge. In this case you may be asked to login or to pay to access the article. If a subscription is required, you may be able to access the article via your local medical library.
Produced by the United States National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine, PubMed is a free database containing over 33 million citations and abstracts of biomedical literature. The “PubMed” link on the PEDro “Detailed Search Results” page will take you to the PubMed entry for the article. This PubMed entry may contain links to full text from other sources.
- PDF locator
Some search engines on the internet are designed to find free PDF documents. In PEDro we have created a link that uses PDFSearchEngine.net to search for PDF copies of the article. Clicking on the “PDF locator” link on the PEDro “Detailed Search Results” page will take you to the search results generated by PDFSearchEngine. These results are ranked for relevance using a built-in algorithm. You will need to scan down the list of search results to see if a link to full text is available for your article of interest. We suggest that you look at the first two pages of search results.
The last option for accessing full text is via the website of the journal using the “publisher” hyperlink on the PEDro “Detailed Search Results” page. Accessing full text will require additional navigation through the journal website in order to locate the issue that your target article is published in. Not all journals will allow you to access full text free of charge. In this case you may be asked to login or to pay to access the article.