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Finding Free Health Sciences Literature

Keeping Current

There are tools to help you keep up-to-date with the biomedical literature.

black and white drawing of a megaphoneNewsletters & Alerting Services

  • My NCBI - Set up a free My NCBI account from the National Library of Medicine. Save PubMed searches and be emailed with the latest results at intervals you select. (Or, you can forego the emails and just log in to see new results.
  • MMWR - Sign up for a free weekly newsletter of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, with the table of contents and a link to each article. Note that the links do not necessarily go to freely available articles.
  • NEJM Journal Watch - Free service from NEJM that summarizes new research, drug information, and more. You can set up email alerts, RSS feeds, or follow its Twitter feed.
  • Amedeo - set up free weekly email alerts for specific journals based on your interests
  • Medscape - register for a free account for medical news. Medscape is owned by WebMD.

black and white drawing of a sheet of paperJournal Table of Contents Alerts

You can set up Table of Contents alerts at your favorite journals. Then whenever a journal has a new issue you'll get notified.

JournalTOCs is a free service that offers table of contents alerts for many major journals, including JAMA, Nature, and The Lancet. You can browse for TOCs by subject or publisher, or you can follow up to 20 journals.

If the journal you're looking for is not on JournalTOCs, go to its website and look for alerts or a place where you can register for a free account.


black and white drawing of a speech bubble Journal Clubs

Journal clubs, in which people gather to talk about an article, can be a good way to keep up with the literature and to discuss it with others. If you are a member of a professional organization, they may have a journal club for you to join. See below for examples:

Can't find a journal club to join? Start one at your institution or with your peers! For tips:


black and white drawing of a mobile phone Apps

Read by QxMD allows you to read and annotate articles; also has a social networking feature. While you will not be able to use the institutional affiliation to access more full text, you'll be able to see any article that is freely available.