Some professional journals regularly provide their table of contents (TOC) for free as journal issues are published by sending them either by email or to a RSS* reader when requested. For example, anyone can sign up to receive the TOC of journals published by the American Psychological Association at http://www.apa.org/rss/ when a new journal issue is published. Signing up to receive the TOC of journals allows one to be informed about what articles are being published whether or not they are a subscriber to the journal. Once alerted one can either obtain the article from a library where one has privileges or contact the author of the article for a copy.
I recently learned about an amazing mobile app, Docphin, that does even better in keeping me informed about professional publications. It is available for free at the Google Play Store and at the Apple iTunes. It aggregates the TOC for new and past published articles for over 5000 medical and health journals, including many psychology journals. A for pay premium version that offers more features than are described below is also available.
Docphin is ostensibly for physicians but can be a very useful app for psychologists and other health care professionals. In addition to current journal issues, Docphin also provides access to TOC from past journal issues as well.
After installing Docphin on your mobile device, open the program and create an account with a user name, email address and a password. You also have the option of identifying a university where you have library privileges for later downloading articles. You will be asked to indicate your medical “specialty”. A list of recommended journals related to the specialties you choose will automatically be generated. The suggested journals can be deleted and added to by creating your customized “My Journals” list of journals for which you want to receive TOC. To do this press the small three dots in the upper right hand corner of the app screen for an edit menu. Adding a journal title can be done by checking the name of the journals in a very long alphabetized list or using the search function at the top of the screen and entering the name or a key word (e.g. psychological). Another option is to press the “Suggested” heading and scroll down the list of specialty areas and select a specialty. A list of journals will be populated on the screen and you can then mark the ones for which you want in your TOC. Psychological or psychology journals can readily be found by entering those terms in the search box.
After receiving the TOC that are updated and sent to you via email weekly, you can view article abstracts or if you have indicated a university library where you have privileges you can access and download the article. (You will have to enter your university library ID and passcode to access journal articles when initially setting up your My Journals list.) When you find an article listed in the TOC that you want you can click below in the mobile device screen to indicate you want a pdf format copy of the article. This will automatically take you to your university library and download the article (if the university has the journal) to your device without your having to enter anything else.
Alerts about newly published articles can be created by using key words in titles or by author name by selecting “Alerts” in the “Docphin” menu. This feature creates a weekly listing of articles about the topic(s) you choose from any of the thousands of journals in the Docphin database and is included with the weekly TOC. The list provides the title, author, and abstracts related to the key words (e.g. telepsychology, competencies, etc.) used when setting up the alert. Also if you have library privileges and the library has the journal, you can view the article or download a copy to your device in the same manner as from the TOC list. Alerts are not limited to the journals listed in My Journals previously described.
An example of how this app can be used beyond the use of receiving table of contents of selected journals and alerts of articles using key words is the use of the app search function. This highly useful function accessed in the main menu has basic and advanced search options that includes search fields by title, author and journal. The advanced option includes fields selecting a year range, specialties, types of articles, and article formats. For example, if I want to find a specific article that was published in 2015 and know the author’s name but not the journal or title, I can easily enter the author’s name and year and search for that will be done in the journal(s) selected. (For this type of search an option is to select “all journals” rather than limiting a search to a single journal.)
* For an explanation of RSS and RSS readers go to http://libguides.mit.edu/c.php?g=175947&p=1158942 .
Author: Kenneth P. Drude, Ph.D.
Dr. Drude is a private practice psychologist in Dayton, Ohio, with an interest in the use of technology in behavioral health practice.