Read users connect and access articles from Read through a variety of ways that depend on what type of paper they are trying to access and how their institution's library is setup. The flowchart below is a succinct overview of the behind-the-scenes processes when Read is trying to retrieve a paper. Here, we provide a breakdown of this visual guide and go over some of the key steps in more detail. Please note that while this visual guide shows many steps, the entire process only takes a matter of seconds.
If you would like a larger version of this image, we've provided a downloadable file of this chart at the very bottom.
Part One: Databases & Pathing
Once a user tries to access an article, Read starts looking through our database of articles and various URL links (paths). If there are no more links to try, then Read will notify the user with the message "Full-Text Not Available". On the other hand, if there are more links to try, Read will continue to try each one based on whether the paper is open-access or behind a paywall, which we will get to in Parts Two and Three. Below are the various sources Read get its article URL links from.
- Institutional Holdings: This is the best source as we can provide the same exact link that a user's institution uses when they are accessing a paper via Institutional Access. Links from the institution's holdings will always be prioritized, allowing Read to speed up the process of finding papers by using links that work. In order for us to do this, the institution must provide us with their most recent holdings file. Any
- PubMed: This is where Read primarily indexes its articles from. If the article is free, then Read will pull up the free link. However, if the article behind a paywall, then Read will see if the user has access via institutional access.
- Crawler: Lastly, QxMD has its own web crawler, which essentially searches the vast web looking for links to various articles and journals to supplement the available articles we have from the holdings and PubMed databases. Depending on how the source of the article or journal is setup, we try our best to implement them into Read. For institutions that have provided us with their holdings, the crawler will do a final sweep to help fill in any missing links in their holdings. The crawler essentially helps patch the holes within an institutions' holdings, and provide access to articles for institutions that have not yet provided their holdings or to open-access papers.
Part Two: On-Site Access (IP Range, Intranet)
After checking the database for available links, Read will check to see if the article is open-access or paywalled. If the article is open-access, the user will be taken to the paper automatically. However, if the article is behind a paywall, Read will check a variety of ways to see if the user is authorized to access the article. Here we will see the various options Read provides access to papers when the user is on-site.
On-Site (IP Range, Intranet): If you have provided us with the institution's IP Range, we can provide access to articles to users who are on the IP Range and have selected their institution. To clarify, we do not do any of the IP authentications. All requests are relayed to the vendors and authenticated on the vendors' side (similar to a browser).
Part Three: Remote Access (VPN, Proxy)
Remote or off-site access is the most popular option among institutions in Read. This options allows Read to behave as if the user is on-site and provide access to the institution's subscriptions, no matter where they are.
a. VPN (Virtual Private Network): In order to use this option, users will have to select the VPN option from the Institutional Access page and make sure their VPN application is turned on.
b. Proxy: Users will be required to login to their institution's proxy web-page with their credentials, which Read helps do behind the scenes. There are two types of login options: Manual and Automatic. For the Manual option, you will be prompted to login each time you use the app. For the Automatic option, Read stores your credentials (your password is encrypted and only stored locally in your device, never sent to our servers), and logs you in each time you use the app.
Read strives to provide the best experience for clinicians in discovering and keeping up with the latest medical research. We welcome any institutions that want to work with us to improve their communities access to medical information. Read by QxMD’s free Basic tier of the Institutional Edition platform is available to any hospital or medical school in the world that has journal subscriptions. Institutions can also choose to upgrade at anytime for more features built around detailed journal/user insights and quality improvement. Sign up for free today at https://institutions.readbyqxmd.com/sign-up-for-free/.