Library Services, University of Birmingham
Online guides are available on literature searching techniques and medical databases such as Ovid Medline, and other resources. It is important to plan and carry out a literature search using a clear structure and with accredited resources. Bibliographic databases index peer-reviewed journals, use subject-specific indexing systems in the case of Medline (and its open-web PubMed interface), Embase and other health databases. The following online guides from Library Services at the University of Birmingham detail search techniques and outline available resources. Please consult these before carrying out a search if you are at all unsure, or as a refresher.
NB: Access to e-resources such as Ovid Medline and subscription journals will depend on membership of University of Birmingham or other academic institutions.
To search freely available, open-access biomedical journal articles, PubMed has a filter for free full text material.
The Wellcome Foundation has issued a major statement with multiple organisations as signatories:
From the University of Birmingham:
No system is perfect. Notice the expression of concern for a previously accepted Lancet article, and commentary on the investigative journalism that revealed the flawed process in this case: the following are from the Lancet journal and Guardian newspaper respectively.
College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham (UK)
National Institutes of Health (USA)
UK Research and Innovation (formerly the UK Research Council)
Office for National Statistics
BMJ (British Medical Journal)
Cambridge University Press
New England Journal of Medicine
Oxford University Press
The following are subscription databases provided to University of Birmingham staff and students. Check your own institution for availability, or the NHS (Athens login) via Evidence Search. Health Education England (Library and Knowledge Services) have also put together a COVID-19 search bank of related topic searches and strategies.
Medical databases use subject headings. Use the Scope note to check definitions, and click on headings to show the hierarchical subject tree.
Medline (Ovid) - core biomedical database
Embase (Ovid) - pharmacology / pharmacy emphasis: essential for drug therapy research
CINAHL - nursing and allied health: for any aspects of nursing and related health care
Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts (Proquest) - strong on social sciences, public health and social welfare