Which journals do primary care physicians and specialists access from an online service?
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OBJECTIVE: The study sought to determine which online journals primary care physicians and specialists not affiliated with an academic medical center access and how the accesses correlate with measures of journal quality and importance. METHODS: Observational study of full-text accesses made during an eighteen-month digital library trial was performed. Access counts were correlated with six methods composed of nine measures for assessing journal importance: ISI impact factors; number of high-quality articles identified during hand-searches of key clinical journals; production data for ACP Journal Club, InfoPOEMs, and Evidence-Based Medicine; and mean clinician-provided clinical relevance and newsworthiness scores for individual journal titles. RESULTS: Full-text journals were accessed 2,322 times by 87 of 105 physicians. Participants accessed 136 of 348 available journal titles. Physicians often selected journals with relatively higher numbers of articles abstracted in ACP Journal Club. Accesses also showed significant correlations with 6 other measures of quality. Specialists' access patterns correlated with 3 measures, with weaker correlations than for primary care physicians. CONCLUSIONS: Primary care physicians, more so than specialists, chose full-text articles from clinical journals deemed important by several measures of value. Most journals accessed by both groups were of high quality as measured by this study's methods for assessing journal importance.
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