Troubleshooting Common E-Journal Problems
The most frequently reported problem with e-journals is users’ inability to access the online full text of the University of California’s licensed titles. Common examples include when
- You are prompted for a User Name and Password
- A message indicates that “your subscription has expired,” or “you do not have an electronic subscription for this resource”
- No full text option (button or icon) is provided or you are prompted to purchase the article
- A database, such as PubMed, has a link to the article, but the article is not available on the publisher’s web site.
Follow the steps below to troubleshoot the problem.
Note: The troubleshooting steps below do not take into consideration off-campus access. If online content cannot be accessed through off-campus mechanisms but is available on campus, refer users to your campus remote access service desk for assistance.
Step 1: Check to see if your campus should have access to the online content of the journal for the dates of the desired article.
To do this, search the CDL ERMS Portal by print ISSN or Title.
- If you determine that you should have access to the online content and do not…
Action: Continue to Step 2.
If the journal is not listed in the CDL ERMS Portal at all…
- Often, the online content is available via an individual campus subscription.
Action: Notify the unit responsible for electronic resources at your campus about the problem accessing the electronic content.
-- OR --
- The journal is an earlier manifestation of a current title. Most publishers and aggregators only recognize the later title; earlier titles are often hidden.
Action: Search for the current journal title. (Note: Click the Title details from ulrichsweb.com™ link [see below] after any journal title to search the Ulrichsweb Global Periodicals Directory for additional journal information.) Then, continue to Step 2.
- The CDL ERMS Portal does not include freely available resources.
Action: Continue to Step 3 to report the problem. It may be that a freely available e-journal needs to be removed from UC-eLinks because the content is no longer freely available.
Step 2: Occasionally, a database has a link to the article, but the article is not available on the publisher’s web site. Most often, this occurs with the PubMed database because PubMed includes “e-pub ahead of print” citations. Some vendors, like Wiley InterScience, do not allow access to pre-published online content from valid IP addresses.
Additionally, some resources (like CINAHL Plus with Full Text) are slower at making the latest content available online. Other possibilities include embargoes to current content are in place and/or vendors that provide “selected full text” only.
- If the article has a pre-publication status and access to the article is unavailable…
Action: Notify your user to check again in a few days to see if the article has actually been published in an online issue.
- If the article has been published in a very recent issue of the journal but is not available online, check a few issues back to see if full text is available in older issues of the journal. If so…
Action: Notify your user to check again in a few days to see if the article has been made available online or notify your user to obtain a paper copy of the article from a library at your campus (if available) or via Request (Interlibrary Loan [ILL]) services.
- If an embargo is in place… (Usually, you can locate embargo information in the catalog holdings, on the UC-eLinks menu or on the publisher’s web site.)
Action: Notify your user to obtain a paper copy of the article from a library at your campus (if available) or via Request (Interlibrary Loan [ILL]) services.
- Aggregator databases (e.g., EBSCOhost, LexisNexis) often offer “selected full text” only. So even if the article falls into the licensed dates of coverage, it may not be available. (In UC-eLinks and catalog holdings, the aggregator databases are identified as having “Selected full text …” or “Selected article text…”.)
Action: Search the CDL ERMS Portal by print ISSN or Title to see if the journal is available from a vendor providing complete full text. If not, notify your user to obtain a paper copy of the article from a library at your campus (if available) or via Request (Interlibrary Loan [ILL]) services.
- If none of the situations above apply…
Action: Continue to Step 3.
Step 3: For systemwide or multi-campus subscriptions, if your campus should have access to the online content (within the licensed dates of coverage) and does not, notify CDL. You can notify CDL of problems with systemwide or multi-campus licensed resources in any of the following ways.
- If the access problem was noticed via UC-eLinks, use the Report a problem with UC-eLinks link on the UC-eLinks menu to notify CDL. The UC-eLinks’ “Report a problem with UC-eLinks” form is the easiest way to notify us of access problems since troubleshooting metadata is automatically transmitted as part of the form.
- You can log into the CDL Helpline Web Site to report the problem; see How to Use the CDL Helpline Web Site for instructions.
- For reporting journal problems, it is best to use one of the two methods listed above because we can better track access problems for specific vendors and specific interfaces. However, you can also call the CDL Helpline at 510.987.0555 (M-F). Do leave a message if no one answers; we may be away from our desks at the time of your call but we check our messages regularly during the day.