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Open Access Maternity

What is "Open Access"? Open access moves research from behind a paywall into the public sphere. This means that you don't need to buy a subscription, use a library card, or pay-per-article to read the material online.

Open Access Journals

This means all articles are freely available online.

Open Access Articles

This means sometimes journals post articles open access temporarily. Open access for these items can change at any time.

How to read research articles

Don't be intimidated by the language researchers use. It's basically academic slang. Here's my recommended reading practice:

Read the abstract. This is a short paragraph summarizing the article. Sometimes, this is enough and you don't need to read more. But the words you find here will likely also appear in the article, so...

...use a dictionary for any words you don't understand. Or ask a trusted medical professional to breakdown concepts.

Skip to the DISCUSSION and CONCLUSION sections. These will have the big picture elements, including best practices and future trends.

As you get more comfortable reading articles, you can find background, including history of the topic, in the INTRODUCTION.

If you're feeling even more confident, take a look at the METHODS and RESULTS sections. You can find details on the participants and the way the researchers ran the study. How many participants were included? How do they define the partipants (look for gender, social or economic status, disability, etc.).

Share what you've found - at whatever level. Start conversations with partners, family members, and of course, your healthcare folks.

Did you find an article that is not open access, but really want to read it? Look at the authors and find the "corresponding author." There will usually be an email address listed. You can reach out the author directly to request a copy of their article. They may ignore your email and they are not obligated to send anyone a copy, but it is worth a chance. You can also reach out to a friend or family member who might be in college because they may have access to university databases (like Ebsco). They might be able to get a copy of the article (access is part of their tuition).

There is also a web site keeping a list of open access journals related to reproduction. The site appears to be for researchers looking to submit articles, however, it is useful for personal research, too:

Read. Look. Listen.