Sharing articles with your journal club

by Laura Mounce on 2022-11-14T08:30:00-04:00 in Engage Others, Interpersonal Communication, Journal Club, Teaching & Learning | 0 Comments

Journal clubs are a great way to promote evidence-based practice. They encourage team members to:

  • read and appraise research in their fields
  • share new research with others
  • discuss how to put new ideas into practice

Attaching the PDF of an article to an email and sending it to your colleagues may seem like the easiest way to get started, but doing so may be in violation of copyright law. Review our sharing considerations below to help you and your club stay engaged and respect the work of research authors.


Research metrics are measurements used to evaluate the impact of research in a quantitative way. Downloading an article once and emailing the PDF to your team reduces the number of views or hits counted for that article. This lessens the measured impact of the article and may even affect future funding on that topic or for the research author(s).


“Fair dealing” allows you to make one single copy of an article for your own use, but you cannot distribute copies to others. That said, individual publishers or databases may have their own copyright policy governing how you are allowed to share their articles. There may be limitations on:

  • the purposes for which you can share an article (e.g. education or research)
  • with whom you can share an article
  • how you can share an article

Make sure you read the terms of use, before distributing copyright protected material.

Sharing considerations

The best way to share articles with your journal club is to share a link to the article, even if the article is open access or free to download. This can be a permanent link from a database your team has access to or the article’s DOI (digital object identifier). Sharing the link will improve the author’s metrics and comply with copyright.

3 ways to send an article to your journal club:

1. From your Discover search results

From the results page, click and checkmark the box next to the article title you want to share (1), then select the Mail button at the top of the list (2). Fill out the details to send to club members and click Send (3). You can add multiple recipients to the To field by separating addresses with a comma or a semicolon.

TIP If you are sharing an article labeled Check for full text, remember to note that recipients will need to request an individual copy through Document Delivery because it is not a resource to which the library currently provides access.


2. Through a database (such as CINAHL)

Run a search in a database, such as CINAHL Complete from the Library’s Databases A-Z list. From the results page, select the article title that you want to share. Look under the Tools menu to the right and select E-mail (1). Fill out the details to send to club members. You can add multiple recipients to the E-mail to: field by separating addresses with a semicolon (2). If full text is available, make sure to select PDF as separate attachment (3). Then click Send (4).

NOTE Our CINAHL license allows distribution of articles for personal or internal use only. You may not send articles to journal club members outside of Nova Scotia Health.

3. Using the article’s DOI

You can find an article’s DOI (digital object identifier) by viewing the article on the publisher’s website, or by viewing the article’s record page in Discover or in a database.

In Discover, search your topic, and then click on the title of the article you’d like to view. This will take you to the article’s record page, where you can find information about the article. This information should include the article’s DOI (1), as well as options for reading the article (2 and 3). Clicking on the DOI will take you to the publisher’s website, where you can view the article.

From there, you can share the DOI (1) with your club members using Email or one of the other Share (2) options.

For more information about starting a journal club, or finding articles in the library's databases, please reach out to Library Services at AskLibrary@nshealth.ca or book a one-on-one consultation with a Librarian to learn more.

To find out more about sharing articles and copyright considerations, consult our Copyright subject guide.

Laura Mounce

Librarian Educator
Halifax Infirmary, Central Zone

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