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Tools for Public Health Users

This module aims to collect, in one place, the resources/tools that public health users use quite often.

Check this comprehensive resource center for the latest and most credible information about COVID-19:

Tools for Public Health Users

Below resources can be searched to locate articles about a particular topic in the public health field:

  • Medline: an index of 5600 journals in medicine & medical sciences, content very similar to PubMed              
  • PubMed@SML: a formatted PubMed that directly links many AUB subscribed articles to their full-text                                               
  • Embase: an international database like Medline/Pubmed, indexes around 1500 journals not in PubMed
  • CINAHL: mainly a nursing and allied health literature index.
  • POPLINE: reproductive health mainly in developing countries.
  • Global Index Medicus:a WHO searchable database the results may be limited to a particular region.
  • IMEMR: is PubMed for the Arab countries indexing journals not included in PubMed.
  • TOXNET: a searchable resource for toxicology and related topics
  • ProQuest Health Management: covers the field of public health and health administration, includes articles and dissertations.
  • ProQuest Public Health: designed to be the starting point for public health information and research. It delivers core public health literature with centralized access to over 800 publications with over 500 in full-text, indexed from a variety of publishers using appropriate public-health terminology
  • Disaster Information: a resource for information about disaster medicine and public health.
  • Global Health: is mainly a public health resource and is part of CAB Direct
  • Center for Environmental Health Actions (CEHA): a WHO database that houses environmental actions in the East Mediterranean region.
  • Specialized Information Services SIS: toxicology, environmental health, disasters etc.. for guidance see Environmental Health and Toxicology: which resource should i choose?
  • Scopus or Web of Science: these tools offer a different way of searching by looking up who cited a particular item/author

More Resources for Public Health Users:

NLM has a good comprehensive collection of Environmental Health & Toxicology collection of resources.

Remember many more resources are available, for more info all you have to do is contact us!

Please visit the following Libguide Evidence Based Public Health (EBPH) for detailed information about EBPH.

Below are resources that provide public-health evidence information:

If you are conducting evidence-based healthcare management research and need assistance in data collection, data analysis and writing reports, you can contact the AUB Evidence-based Healthcare Management Unit (EHMU).

Learn more about Evidence-based Public Health:

Resources providing multimedia about public health topics:

A lot of the public health literature is available as grey literature that might be difficult to locate, below are some links that might help:

Public Health Grey Literature

Grey Matters! Find Grey literature: Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) provides Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial health care decision makers with credible, impartial advice and evidence-based information about the effectiveness and efficiency of drugs and other health technologies.
Fore more information about grey literature we recommend the systematic review guide written by SML Librarian.

Below resources give information (such as approved package inserts) about a particular drug:

  • DailyMed: the official provider of FDA label information, provides trustworthy information about marketed drugs in USA
  • Micromedex

Whereas the below sites provide articles talking about a particular drug:

For Drug interactions:

For Drug Toxicity:

For Pill Identifiers:

The Quality and Safety from the below resources help preserve patient safety and implement quality improvement measures:

Global Health Observatory (GHO): this is WHO's annual world health statistics reports presenting the most recent health statistics for WHO member states.

CDC Wonder (Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research): makes the information resources of CDC available and provides access to a wide array of public health information

CDC National Center for Health Statistics: includes the National Health Interview Survey, the National Immunization Survey, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the National Survey of Family Growth, the National Health Care Survey, the National Employer Health Insurance Survey, the National Mortality Followback Survey, and the National Vital Statistics System consisting of the Birth Data and Mortality Data.

CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: includes links to health related resources

US Department of Health & Human Services National Institutes of Health: links to resources on Health Information, Scientific Resources, Institutes and Offices, Grants and Contracts, an alphabetical list of information on diseases, NIH research areas etc...
GBD Data Visualization: produced by Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation
OECD Statistics: from Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
E-Marefa an Arabic language full text database providing access to academic journals, theses and statistical reports from the Arab world.
WorldBank Health, Nutrition and Population Data and Statistics: database of Health, Nutrition and Population statistics such as health financing, HIV/AIDS, immunization, malaria and tuberculosis, health workforce, health facilities use, nutrition, etc...
United Nations Data: covers a wide range of themes including Crime, Education, Energy, Environment, Health, HIV/AIDS, Human Development, Information and Population, Refugees, as well as useful features like Country Profiles, and Glossaries.  There is also United Nations Population Information Network.
For guidance/help see:

Open Access@SML: SML encourages publishing as open access and currently is a member of below open access publishers.  As a result, any AUB member who wishes to publish with these will be entitled to below designated discount on the Article Processing Charges (APC):

No-fee open access journals from all specialties may be used if you are in short of money for the article processing fee.

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) covers over 10,000 quality open access peer-reviewed academic journals.

Beware of open access predatory journals these are fake/scam open access journals requesting payment without providing robust editorial or publishing services; see the Beal's List of Predatory Journals and Publishers, also check the five point plan on how to avoid predatory journals by Jocalyn Clark.

Paul M. Blobaum "Blobaum’s Checklist for Review of Journal Quality for Submission of Scholarly Manuscripts", 2013.

Think, Check, Submit is a tool to help you make informed decisions on where to publish, helps researchers evaluate journals prior to submitting their work for publication. With so many publications, how can one trust a particular journal? Follow this check list to verify if you have chosen a trusted journal for publishing your research.  An interesting and alarming issue is the peer-review fraud from New England Journal of Medicine.

NOTE: Any author with an NIH grant submits his/her article to PubMedCentral (PMC) and it will appear in PubMed, irrespective in which journal it was published in. That is how some predatory publishers are advertising that they 'are indexed in PubMed'. Only journals that have a note in NLM 'Indexed for Medline' are the journals selected and evaluated by the NLM Committee.

Potential predatory and legitimate biomedical journals: can you tell the difference? A cross-sectional comparison has a very nice table (Table 10) showing 13 characteristics of potential predatory journals. 

What to do if you have submitted an article to a predatory journal before you realized it is predatory?

Try to withdraw the article.  If you do not succeed, look at 'instructions to authors' to see if you have transferred the copyright to the publisher or not.  If copyright is with you as an author, you are free to publish that same article in a reputable journal but explain to the editor what has happened to you with the predatory journal.  Editors of reputable journals are fully aware of what is happening and how predatory journals work.  You might have a chance to publish your article in the reputable journal!

Still need more information, then read Tennessee University guide "Is this publisher reputable?" also read Chrissy Prator "8 ways to identify a questionable open access journal" and "Spotting a Predatory Publisher in 10 Easy Steps" and "Predatory Journals Are Such a Big Problem It’s Not Even Funny".

One final point to mention: remember you can never be 100% sure...

Ten Strategies to Boost Your Research Impact:

  1. Create your unique researcher identifier and profile under which you gather all your publications to facilitate their findings and enhance visibility in the research community, to remove author ambiguity (due to variations in spellings), and to ensure your work is correctly attributed to you. Example Open Researcher Contributor ID ORCID
  2. Be consistent in writing your name, your institutional and departmental address and do not use abbreviations.
  3. List your email correctly and open it frequently.
  4. Publish in Journals that have at least one of these:

               for more information see Blobaum's checklist for submission of scholarly manuscripts

  1. Check ScopusPubMed or Web of Science to see if all your citations have correct author and affiliation address. If there are mistakes, contact us to help you correct them.
  2. Create your own researcher profile in a professional web-page and keep it up-to-date.
  3. Join academic social networking sites ex. AcademiaLinkedInResearchGateMendeleyCiteULike
  4. Participate in a professional listserv in your specialized area.
  5. Retain your right to place a copy of your publication @AUB Institutional Repository.
  6. Too much to remember? Ask US, we are here to help you!

Health research instruments as defined by HAPI are questionnaires, psychological tests, health status indicators, genetic test, interview schedules, checklists, index measures, coding schemes/manuals, inventories, rating scales, projective techniques, and vignettes/scenarios.

Below resources/guidelines help you locate health research instruments:

In addition, the below are hard-copy books available at Jafet Library:

  • Measures for clinical practice and research: a sourcebook
  • Positive psychological assessment: a handbook of models and measures
  • Measures of personality and social psychological attitudes
  • Inventories, questionnaires and surveys for training and development
  • Measures of social psychological attitudes
  • Handbook of family measurement techniques
  • Handbook of tests and measurement in education and the social sciences
  • Sourcebook of nonverbal measures

One tip is to search for articles that mention that they developed or validated a questionnaire as you don't want articles that used a method but those that describe a developed method. So in Medline AND your topic with: (questionnaire* adj10 (develop* OR validat* OR new OR descri*))

Searching for an instrument takes time as they may be published in a book, article, dissertation, websites, and may be only available by contacting person who developed it, who may or may not respond to your request.  Some journal articles make the full-text of the instrument available as an appendix.

If you want to publish the actual instrument or use the instrument in your research, you should contact the copyright holder (author or publisher) to obtain permission to use it yourself - even if the instrument was available for free - but if you are only going to write about it, then no need for copyright permission.

For more information see the Washington University Libguide on measurement tools and APA Finding Information about Psychological Tests.

Qualitative research seeks to understand and interpret personal experiences, behaviours, interactions, and social contexts to explain the phenomena of interest, such as the attitudes, beliefs, and perspectives of patients and clinicians; the interpersonal nature of caregiver and patient relationships; the illness experience; or the impact of human suffering (Wong et al, 2004).

Tools to help find Qualitative Research Articles:

  • Health Services Research: from PubMed, type in topic keywords then select category such as "qualitative research".
  • PubMed: use the MeSHes "qualitative research" and "nursing methodology research" AND them with the topic keywords.
  • CINAHL: use subjects like "qualitative studies" or "phenomenological research" and "grounded theory".  Also at the bottom of CINAHL page select "qualitative best" as a "clinical query".

Search filters for qualitative research:

For more information:

Citation Analysis Tools cover a wide range of the international scientific literature including medicine and medical sciences.  These can be used either as a search engine to retrieve articles about a particular topic or to locate where, when and how many times a particular author/citation was cited in the scholarly literature:

  • Scopus: covers around 21,000 peer reviewed journals
  • Web of Science: covers over 20,660 peer reviewed journals in addition to books, patents and conference proceedings

AUB Libraries subscribes to EndNote citation management tool. Visit the complete SML ABC guide on how to manage your references from the most important Medical, Nursing, and Public Health databases using Endnote Web & Endnote Client.

Other similar tools are available on the Internet for free to all users such as:

Contact us for more information on how to best search these resources.


SML Librarian can help you stay up-to-date by receiving automatic email alerts in any of the below:

  • particular journal(s)
  • particular topic of interest
  • alerts to see who have cited one of your paper(s)
  • alerts about recent EBM documents in your specialty
  • medicines and prescribing awareness alerts

If you are interested in any of the above, contact us.

SML Librarians are professional people that are knowledgeable and available to help/support your information needs, so do not hesitate to ask us!

Help is available through:

  • SML Research Guide available 24/7
  • Live classes tailored to the specific needs of the attendees
  • Walk-in, call ext. 5900/5904/ 5911/5916/5917
  • e-mail your question
  • Request one-to-one consultation
  • Request guidance/support when doing a systematic review
  • Get consultation about where to publish your article, and many here