Flower-Sprecher Veterinary Library

Get copies of journal articles

Practicing veterinarians can view or obtain full-text journal articles in several ways:

  • Personal or in-practice received subscriptions
  • Online full-text access from Internet sources – publishers or vendors
      • Free
      • Pay-per-view
  • Connections via online bibliographic databases, such as PubMed MEDLINE
      • Free
  • Document delivery of printed (or electronic) copies from libraries and other suppliers

Access to electronic journals

An increasing number of veterinary journals are becoming available electronically and are thus accessible to practicing veterinarians from their offices and clinics via the Internet.

This is the fastest and most efficient way to obtain access to non-subscribed journal articles either as PDF (portable document format) documents or HTML with active hypertext links. PDF documents are actually images of print journal article pages.

To view a PDF, it is necessary to have a PDF reader plug-in program, such as Adobe Acrobat, which is freely downloadable.

Publisher/vendor Web sites typically maintain separate contents pages for each journal and list years, volumes, and article titles in order by page number or subject category.

To view a free PDF or request a Pay-Per-View, simply click on “Full Text PDF (size of file in KB)” or equivalent from the journal’s table-of-contents page or somewhere on the HTML version screen.

With increasing utilization of electronic journals, publishers are adding backfiles, sometimes from v.1, no.1, thereby providing a complete run of the journal. Backfiles before the mid-1990s are often available online free of charge.

If no electronic full-text access is available, PDF and/or print copies of articles may be acquired through various document delivery sources, including libraries and other suppliers as described below.

Note: Abstracts are often available online in PubMed or from publisher’s Web sites at no cost and may contain sufficient information in many instances.

Types of Access

Free access = Full text articles from open access journals are available free of charge to everyone on the Internet. This may include most recent issues or those after several months.

Pay-per-view = Publishers/vendors accept payment by credit card for electronic access to particular full text articles on an item-by-item basis.

Subscription = Individuals must have a paid subscription to view the full text of journal article content online. Access is typically by user ID and password.

PDA downloads = Individuals must have a paid account to automatically receive and view the tables-of-contents and abstracts only of certain journals on a Personal Digital Assistant or equivalent mobile device.


Online full-text access sources – Publishers & vendors

  • Free sources

A number of journals are completely “open access” which means that all articles from the most recent issues and backfiles are freely available to anyone in the world. 

For other titles, there may be some minor restrictions in which the publication is available free of charge after a short embargo period, such as older than 6 to 18 months. 

Some sources for free biomedical journals include

Directory of Open Access Journals

Free Medical Journals

HighWire Press (Free Journals)

Open J-Gate

PubMed Central

Publisher and association Web sites

  • Pay-per-view

Most commercial publishers and vendors offer a pay-per-view option whereby individuals may “purchase” short term rights to view a journal article online using a credit card for payment. This enables short-term access to the article for a few hours up to 15 days along with the ability to download or save an electronic copy as a PDF.

Some major publishers/vendors include:


BMJ Group

Elsevier Health




Nature Publishing Group

SciVerse/ScienceDirect (Elsevier)


Wiley Interscience (Included Blackwell Science)

  • Subscription

In other instances, it is necessary for an individual to subscribe to an electronic journal in order to obtain access. This may include receiving both the print issues and obtaining a user ID and password for online access from the publisher or vendor’s Web site.

Professional scientific organizations will often include electronic access to their journal and other publications as a membership benefit. Access is often by user ID (or membership number) and password.

Check the publisher’s Web site for subscription ordering information.

Some examples include:

Journal of American Animal Hospital Association

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice

  • PDA downloads

With the advent of PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants) and other mobile devices, it is now possible to download abstracts and tables of contents of some journals to a portable handheld computer. Among the journals that offer this subscription service are all four sections of the Veterinary Clinics of North America. Issues are automatically sent when available. In addition to a paid account, this service requires installing software, such as PocketConsult, and synchronizing your PDA.

Contact each vendor to establish an account.


Connections via online bibliographic databases (e.g., PubMed MEDLINE)

Many major bibliographic databases and catalogs provide connections or links to publisher or vendor Web sites for convenient access to electronic journals.

PubMed MEDLINE offers LinkOut connections to nearly 8,600 biomedical journals if enabled by site license, subscription or open access.

Complete journal and LinkOut lists can be viewed under “LinkOut".

Simply click on the publisher/vendors logo/insignia when viewing the Abstract display. This will connect to the source which gives options for free access or pay-per-view.

Check for other free access titles

  • Links from other databases, such as VetMed Resource and Consultant

Connect to full-text journal articles through links or connections to CAB Full Text database, PubMed MEDLINE, or publisher’s Web site that enable access by site license, pay-per-view, subscription or open access.

Print & PDF journal article document delivery sources

If electronic access is not available or does not cover the period of time needed, veterinarians may utilize traditional print document delivery sources. Print articles are now typically scanned and delivered electronically as PDFs by email rather than being sent by surface mail unless a print copy is specified. Some of these include:

  • Loansome Doc via PubMed MEDLINE

Loansome Doc is a biomedical document ordering system associated with PubMed MEDLINE utilizing the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) and the U.S. National Library of Medicine. It is necessary to contact a medical library service provider in advance, set up an account, and agree to pay moderate delivery costs per article.

Then, when searching PubMed MEDLINE, it is possible to easily order a copy of a desired journal article through Loansome Doc. Simply use the “Send to” pull-down menu, choose “Order”, then “Order Articles.”

More information is available at:

Loansome Doc Ordering System

  • Veterinary libraries

All academic veterinary libraries provide unlimited, free access to electronic resources for on-site users, including faculty, students, staff, visitors, and members of the general public according to their university’s access and licensing policies.

In addition, many of these veterinary school libraries offer off-site services to their alumni and other veterinary practitioners. Some restrict services to veterinarians within their state. If a veterinarian is an alumnus or lives near a veterinary college, their libraries may be good sources for on-site visits. Contact each library to obtain information about their services. A complete list is available at:

Veterinary Medical and Related Libraries: An International Directory (Veterinary Medical Libraries Section / Medical Library Association)

VetAccess – is Cornell University’s fee-based research and document delivery service. Contact for more information and request services.

  • Local public libraries

Most public libraries will be able to obtain journal articles and loan of materials for community members upon request, often free of charge. Contact your local public library to inquire about these services.

  • Local college/university/medical school/hospital libraries

In some instances, it may be advantageous for veterinarians to visit or contact their local college, university, medical school, or hospital libraries to inquire about services to health care providers in the community. In addition to on-site access to electronic and print materials, they may also offer interlibrary loan services to obtain materials not held in their collections.

  • Commercial suppliers

A number of commercial document delivery companies exist that will deliver articles on any subject for a fee. Payment is generally by credit card. A list is available at:

Document Delivery Suppliers (Jean P. Shipman, Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library, University of Utah Health Sciences Center)

Tel: (800) 422-4633 Toll Free ; (203) 423-2175 Direct
Fax: (856) 461-9486