Articles often appear on publishers’ Web sites prior to the release of a journal issue. Publishers also have the option of submitting these pre-publication articles to PubMed. PubMed citations for these advance articles include the notation “[Epub ahead of print].”
Full-text availability of this type of article varies depending on the publisher and the HSLS provider, and is not always specified in our licensing agreements. Many publishers limit access to “Epub ahead of print” articles to individual subscribers and do not offer access to institutional subscribers such as HSLS. Some publishers allow access only to those libraries that subscribe directly through the publisher and not through a third party. In some cases, HSLS has the flexibility to change existing subscriptions to take advantage of this. For example, HSLS moved its subscription for the journal, Heart, from Ovid directly to the publisher to allow users to access the high-demand “Epub ahead of print” articles. Unfortunately, this is not possible in all cases due to publishers’ restrictions.
Even when a library is entitled to “E-pub ahead of print” articles, it may not always be possible to link to the full-text article for several reasons: lack a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) that is used to link to full text, lack of specific citation components such as volume, issue or page number of an article, or simply the unavailability of such contents at the journal site at a particular time.
There is not an easy answer for access issues regarding “Epub ahead of print” articles. The only sure way to find out if the article is available in full text is try to access it!
~ Liping Song