Sunday, March 30, 2008

Drum roll, please...

Welcome to the blog! OK, so this isn't the first post, but we're a little new at this, so bear with us. Hopefully, if you're reading this you've already seen Pubget itself, either at or at,,,, or one of the other flavors (about which we've already written). It's like Pubmed, the government search engine for papers in the life sciences, except with Pubget you get the PDFs right away (if you have access; more about that in another post). We started the blog to give people a place to find out more about things they were asking about, including

  • how to search

  • what new features are in the works

  • how to get their college/university/company supported

  • how Pubget respects copyrights and subscriptions

  • how open access initiatives in the U.S. and Europe are affecting search

and anything else about how to get to the literature fast, so you can spend your time doing science instead of looking for it. So: welcome and thanks for reading!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Pubget—now in five new flavors

As more and more institutions have come online, we've adopted the strategy of giving them their own URLs to give their users shortcuts. So if you're in the northeastern United States (or southwestern Australia), try

Everyone else (except institutions we're working with now to bring online; you know who you are) should use

What does a flavor mean? Having a flavor means Pubget supports (at least some of) the library collections at a particular institution. So say you're at MGH, and can access a paper or journal through MGH's library. In that case you can get it through Pubget MGH, When you type in your search, Pubget will ferry you to the appropriate login page at MGH. Note that this is an MGH login page, not a Pubget login page: Pubget is set up so that it can never see your institutional passwords. (That's part of how Pubget respects your privacy; more on that in another post.) If you're not at MGH, you won't be able to get past that page. But if you are, you type whatever it wants you to and you get sent on to Pubget, which shows you the PDF of that paper or all the PDFs in that journal you were looking for.

Having a flavor means your institution is supported. If it isn't, you can go to and get public PDFs—which include everything the NIH has ever funded up to a year ago (more on that in another post, too), the Public Library of Science and Biomed Central journals, and select others—but not things like the latest issue of Nature or Science (we wish we could help, but copyrights are copyrights). If you're not sure, you can ask us, or ask your librarian, or both.

So how do you get your institution added? Easy: you let us know you're interested, and you tell your librarian. We're bringing new institutions online all the time. And then: prepare for science at speed.

Pubget on YouTube

Funny thing we've noticed about Pubget. You tell people "It's like Pubmed, except you get the PDFs right away." But then some people say, "Sounds nice, but I can already get PDFs right away. I can click really fast." And you're not quite sure what to say to that. It's like it's 100 years ago and you're pitching the idea of using the airplane to cross the Atlantic and someone says, "Sounds nice, but we've already got a really fast boat."

The only thing you can do is show them. And short of them visiting Pubget at and clicking under where it says "Try it!" we figured the best thing was a movie. And so here we are on YouTube, so you can see what we mean.

The only thing to note is that this was on a computer where the user was already logged in to a supported institution (more on how to get your institution supported in another post), so there's no login prompt, and all the PDFs are available. If you try this search—it was "kirschner mw[au]", in case you can't read it—without institutional access, you still get about half the PDFs, but not, say the ones from Nature. But hopefully this little clip is enough to illustrate the problem, and how Pubget is the solution.