Health sciences libraries’ subscriptions to journals: expectations of general practice departments and collection-based analysis


  • David Barreau Faculté de Médecine, Département de Médecine Générale, Université de Nantes
  • Céline Bouton Faculté de Médecine, Département de Médecine Générale, Université de Nantes
  • Vincent Renard Collège Académique, Collège National des Généralistes Enseignants, and Département de Médecine Générale, Université Paris-Est Créteil
  • Jean-Pascal Fournier Faculté de Médecine, Département de Médecine Générale, Université de Nantes



General Practice, Science Libraries, Health, Periodicals as Topic


Objective: The aims of this study were to (i) assess the expectations of general practice departments regarding health sciences libraries’ subscriptions to journals and (ii) describe the current general practice journal collections of health sciences libraries.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was distributed electronically to the thirty-five university general practice departments in France. General practice departments were asked to list ten journals to which they expected access via the subscriptions of their health sciences libraries. A ranked reference list of journals was then developed. Access to these journals was assessed through a survey sent to all health sciences libraries in France. Adequacy ratios (access/need) were calculated for each journal.

Results: All general practice departments completed the survey. The total reference list included 44 journals. This list was heterogeneous in terms of indexation/impact factor, language of publication, and scope (e.g., patient care, research, or medical education). Among the first 10 journals listed, La Revue Prescrire (96.6%), La Revue du Praticien–Médecine Générale (90.9%), the British Medical Journal (85.0%), Pédagogie Médicale (70.0%), Exercer (69.7%), and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (62.5%) had the highest adequacy ratios, whereas Family Practice (4.2%), the British Journal of General Practice (16.7%), Médecine (29.4%), and the European Journal of General Practice (33.3%) had the lowest adequacy ratios.

Conclusions: General practice departments have heterogeneous expectations in terms of health sciences libraries’ subscriptions to journals. It is important for librarians to understand the heterogeneity of these expectations, as well as local priorities, so that journal access meets users’ needs.


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Original Investigation