Prevention in Focus

Fall 2010 

Resource highlight: PubMed Central Canada

By Lauren Plews

The Internet can be a goldmine of information for HIV service providers, program planners and policymakers. Information that was close to impossible for most of us to access is now not only easy to find but free to use. PubMed Central Canada is a perfect example: this is a world-class library of health and medical peer-reviewed journals, literally at your fingertips. It is only a click away and would make a great addition to any service provider’s toolbox.

What are peer-reviewed journals?

A peer-reviewed journal is a publication that sends articles submitted by different authors to reviewers—experts in the field—before being published. These reviewers are like the coaches of a sports team.

They read an article and, if it is good enough, the article makes the team and gets to be a part of an issue of the journal. Although the peer-review process does not guarantee the quality or accuracy of the information, it does provide some assurance. Most information on the Internet hasn’t had to go through a try-out so it’s hard to know if it’s information you can trust. Peer-reviewed journals help verify the information for you. 

What is PubMed Central Canada?

PubMed Central Canada is a huge, free library of peer-reviewed journals and articles about health, science and medicine. It is a digital library, which means the collection is only available online, at

PubMed Central Canada stems from the PubMed Central repository created by the US National Library of Medicine and is the new home of all published research resulting from CIHR (Canadian Institutes of Health Research) grants. It offers users access to some of the most current Canadian research in the fields of health, science and medicine.

Although PubMed Central Canada contains primarily English content, some of the journals publish articles in both English and French. You can search for information any time from anywhere you can access the Internet. Users can browse, search and download any of the articles in the collection. The best part is that, unlike most journals or magazines, there is no subscription fee. The collection is totally free to use and you can use it as much as you like. 

What can I find in PubMed Central Canada?

The collection is currently home to approximately 1.5 million items and is growing. There are hundreds of journals whose articles can be accessed through PubMed Central Canada. Once you have found a journal issue or article you are interested in, you can read it online or you can download, save and print it.

Some of the journals that may be of interest to those working in the field of HIV and hepatitis C include:

Articles that may be of interest include:

How do I find articles in PubMed Central Canada?

PubMed Central Canada can be searched in both English and French. Users can browse through an alphabetical list of journals, search journal titles using keywords or pick from a list of the newest journals to join the repository. If you are looking for a more advanced search function, you can use the search interface of PubMed Central.

Once an article has been located, you can view the abstract before looking at the full text.  

What does the future hold for PubMed Central Canada?

PubMed Central Canada will continue to grow as more partnerships are formed and more materials are added to the respository. This is just the beginning for this great resource. It is only going to get better.

About the author(s)

Lauren Plews is currently the Information Specialist at CATIE. A certified bookworm, Lauren earned her Masters of Science in Information with a specialization in Library Sciences from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Before coming to CATIE, she worked in a Public Library and also assisted faculty and researchers at the School of Rehabilitation Science at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario.