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Finding Information

Free Resources

Open access resources for literature searching are recommended if you do not have an RCSI login.  

When doing a Literature Search or Systematic Review it is important to search core databases including PubMed/Medline, Embase, Cochrane, or Cinahl, as well as grey literature sources such as national health service, organisational, and department of health publications.  

Recommended Subject Databases

Cochrane Library – Systematic Reviews and Clinical Trials

The Cochrane Library is a collection of databases that contain different types of high-quality, independent evidence to inform healthcare decision-making.  Cochrane systematic reviews are the gold standard of research, and you can run a basic search using your own keywords, or an advanced search using MeSH subject headings.  The Cochrane Library is provided as a national subscription for the island of Ireland.  The Cochrane Collaboration commissions systematic reviews on clinical topics.


ERIC – Education
ERIC is an education database that covers all aspects of teaching and learning, including Assessments, Higher Education, Science Education and many other topics.  You can search using your own keywords or the ERIC thesaurus subject heading terms.  It is provided free by the Institution of Education Sciences in the US.


Global Index Medicus
Global Index Medicus (GIM) is maintained by the World Health Organisation and provides worldwide access to biomedical and public health literature produced by and within low-middle income countries.


PEDro – Physiotherapy Database
Physiotherapy Evidence Database: A free database of over 50,000 trials, reviews and guidelines evaluating physiotherapy interventions.  Produced by the Institute for Musculoskeletal Health at the University of Sydney and Sydney Local Health District and hosted by Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA).


PubMed – Medicine; includes Nursing, Pharmacy, Psychology and other related topics
PubMed is a large medical database produced by the National Library of Medicine in the US.  It contains over 20,000 records and abstracts and links to some full text articles in PubMed Central.  Medline is included in PubMed, so it is sufficient to search either PubMed or Medline. Alternative interfaces into Medline are available to RCSI users in the Library’s A-Z Resources, including Embase, which is a larger medical and pharmacy database.


Medicines Complete (available on Beaumont Hospital network only, provided by HSE Library)
Provides online access to some of the world's leading drug and healthcare references including BNF, BNF for Children, Martindale, Pharmaceutical Excipients, Stockley’s Drug Interactions, Palliative Care Formulary,  PCF,  Clarity, Critical Illness.


Wed of Science (available on Beaumont Hospital network only, provided by HSE Library)
Web of Science is a large suite of over 12 databases and citation indexes in the sciences and the social sciences.

Clinical Guidelines and Summaries

BMJ Best Practice – Clinical Summaries
BMJ Best Practice provides the latest evidence-based research, guidelines and expert opinion to offer step-by-step guidance on diagnosis, prognosis, treatment and prevention.  The Specialties section contains links to international clinical guidelines, and the Evidence section provides links to Cochrane Clinical Answers.  Free national access is provided in Ireland by the HSE Library.


International Clinical Guidelines 

International Clinical Guidelines are collated by topic in DynaMed and Up-To-Date subscriptions but you can also search for them on open access on the following websites: 

National Guideline Clearinghouse - international clinical practice guidelines 
NICE - guidance from the UK National Institute for Clinical Excellence 
SIGN - Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network 
The Guidelines International Network (G-I-N) - development of guidelines and their application into practice. 

Alternatively, if you know the name of a guideline or organisation that publishes guidelines on a particular specialty, you can search for the guideline or organisation in Google. 


BioMed Central (BMC) – Medicine

BioMed Central publishes peer-reviewed journals in medicine, physical sciences, and other subjects. It is an open access resource provided by Springer Nature.


Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) – Full Text E-Journals
This resource contains free access to 6 million articles from 15,000 peer-reviewed journals published worldwide on science, technology, medicine and the arts.  DOAJ includes journals in different languages, and is funded by many libraries, publishers, and organisations that support open access research.


Europe PMC
Access to many Open Access journal articles and preprints from the major sources, as well as an alternative route to search the PubMed database


Hindawi Journals  - Full Text E-Journals
Hindawi publishes over 700 peer-reviewed Open Access journals, covering areas of medicine science, technology, and some areas of social science.


Open Access Button
A browser bookmark which registers when people hit a paywall to an academic article and cannot access it. It attempts to source open access versions of academic articles.


Research Gate – Research Portal
Gateway for international research where you can search for an author or publication.  If you register and login you can request a copy of a paper directly from the author.


Google Scholar
A freely accessible web search engine that indexes scholarly literature. Click on the top left menu icon to find the Advanced Search option.  You can enter all your keywords in the “with all of the words” option, or type in an exact phrase you’d like to search for.  You can add a date limit to reduce your results.

Institutional Repositories

RCSI Institutional Repository
Archive of papers by RCSI and Beaumont Hospital staff.  You can search for a particular article title, report, author name or department.


Lenus: Irish Health Repository – HSE publications, articles and grey literature
Lenus is the Irish Health Repository provided by HSE Library that includes peer reviewed journal articles, grey literature, dissertations, reports and conference presentations on Irish Healthcare.


OpenDoar – Institutional Repositories
OpenDOAR is a global directory of open access repositories.  You can search for a topic to find papers from worldwide academic institutions, or you can search for a particular institution.  Repositories are a useful alternative for finding free full text articles by searching for a known author in their university or healthcare institutional repository.

Library Catalogues

Primo VE – RCSI Library Catalogue
Search the RCSI Library Catalogue for a complete list of our resources.


OAIster is a catalogue of worldwide library books and resources.  You can search by title or topic or for libraries in a particular country.