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Interlibrary Loan: ePub Ahead of Print

Requesting '[Epub ahead of print]' Articles on ILL

Occasionally you may run across a citation online for an article, usually in the PubMed database, that denotes a status of [Epub ahead of print]. This implies that the publisher has submitted the citation in reference to an article that has been published online in advance of the actual print journal issue being released. It is often tempting to want to have full-text access to such an article, but this can present some difficulties, and is not always immediately possible in some circumstances.

Although there is no simple directive we can offer about obtaining such an article in real time, we can suggest the following:
*First, if a "Free" link to the full-text article is provided at your citation reference source, then click on the link to access the PDF or HTML document.
*Next, try going directly to the journal's own website to see if the publisher has made the article freely available there.

We cannot guarantee that any of these options will work to your satisfaction, since policies vary widely from one publisher to the next on the terms of usage for a given subscription. 

Some publishers limit online access only to certain individual subscribers, while charging others to obtain these articles. For example, if a publisher has provided a link that takes you to a fee-based service or requires a login and password, you may either decide to purchase the article yourself directly from the publisher. Unfortunately, in some cases it just may simply be necessary to be patient and wait for the print issue to be published.

We can finally suggest that you submit an ILL request, using our Request Articles Form, and we could attempt to get the article for you by that means. If you feel the necessity of entering the phrase '[Epub ahead of print]' when you submit your journal article request, we prefer that you place it in the 'Notes' field rather than the 'Volume' field; if you do not know the actual volume number, just enter 'n/a' or 'unknown' there.

Please be aware if you should choose to request through interlibrary loan, that although we will try our best, it may not be possible to get the article through another library. The article may be available only to individual subscribers, and copyright restrictions may prevent subscriber libraries from further supplying to us second-handedly out of an e-journal. We may be forced to select potential lenders that subscribe to the print edition (if we don't already ourselves), and wait until they receive the published journal issue in question in order to produce the copy or scan for us. The process may not be terribly expedient after all, and defeat the entire purpose of early online publishing. The worst case scenario may even result in our not being able to obtain the article at all due to circumstances outside our control.

Hopefully we have clarified this issue as it relates to your use of our interlibrary loan services, and to what extent we are able to fill your research needs as far as very recent journal articles are concerned.


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Ashley Creek
Keleher Learning Commons
Subjects: Technology