Free databases


PubMed is a free meta database maintained by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, with more than 15 million records. MEDLINE is a central part of PubMed focusing on biomedical and life sciences, and also provides access to the Oldmedline records from before 1966 and PubMed central, the digital archive of the National Institute of Health). The records are indexed with NLM’s Medical Subject Headings.

Link to PubMed

The Cochrane Library

The Cochrane Library has collected systematic reviews of evidence-based medicine since 1992. It contains around 2 000 records and a register with summaries of studies and quotations of articles (around 480 000 entries) from biographical databases such as Medline and EMBASE as well as other resources. A current plan is to provide the database in a multilingual form. The Cochrane Collaboration regards it as essential to take into account also the patients’ views of health care matters. Therefore each systematic review also includes a plain language summary.

Link to the Cochrane Library

NLM Gateway

NLM Gateway is a free meta search engine of the National Library of Medicine (NLM). It includes more than 800 000 catalogue entries and 32 000 periodicals, which makes NLM Gateway the world’s largest medical library. NLM also includes the Medline and PubMed databases. NLM Gateway permits simultaneous searches in 20 databases such as PubMed, OLDMEDLINE (1958–1965), LOCATORplus, AIDS Meetings, MEDLINEplus and DIRLINE. In addition to six bibliographical resources (e.g., MEDLINE®/PubMed, Toxline Subset, DART) NLM also has nine consumer health resources such as the Medline Plus Drug Information (generic and brand names). Further available information resources include HSRProj (Health Services Research Projects in Progress), HSDB (Hazardous Substances Data Bank) and ITER (International Toxicity Estimates for Risk). The target audience for the database ranges from students to specialists and policy makers in the field of health care.

Link to NLM Gateway


AgeLine is a free database of AARP, the American Association of Retired Persons, a non-profit membership organisation addressing people over 50 in the USA. AgeLine provides access to literature abstracts in the fields of social gerontology as well as psychology, sociology, social work, economics, politics and health sciences that relate to questions of ageing. It also includes summaries of journals, books, research reports, theses and grey literature. Furthermore, videos on gerontological themes are available for downloading, and links to full versions of publications are included. Every month, around 800 new entries are added. The publications range from 1978 to the present, and even a number of publications from 1966–77 are accessible.

Link to AgeLine

Cancer Research Portfolio (CRP)

 CRP is a public website that supplies information on cancer research as well as knowhow on cancer provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and other Institutes of the National Institute of Health (NIH). It makes available information on cancer-related projects, clinical trials as well as cancer-relevant research resources.

Link to

The Campbell Library

The Campbell Collaboration (C2) is an international network of sociologists founded in 1999. Its objective is, by means of systematic reviews and meta-analysis, to supply evidence of the effects of social interventions and to find best practice projects. C2 focuses on education, crime and justice as well as social welfare. Another focus of activity is placed on methodological questions and improving the quality of research and practical implementation, while avoiding duplication and encouraging good communication and teamwork. C2 closely cooperates with the Cochrane Collaboration.

Link to the Campbell Library

Education Resources Information Center (ERIC)

ERIC is a free database with more than 1.3 million bibliographical records that relate to education and the system of education, and other educational materials. Where available, links to the full texts of publications are included. ERIC receives funding from the U.S. Department of Education. ERIC has more than 6 million users: teachers, education experts, students and parents.

Link to ERIC

Health Policy Monitor (HPM)

The website of HPM provides both summaries and full text publications in English. HPM is a project run by the foundation Bertelsmann Stiftung. The key question on which it focuses is: Does health policy reform work? How and why? Twice a year, experts from 20 countries report on new developments.

Link to HPM