Open Access Journals and Resources for Occupational Therapy Research

While working on research articles for a forthcoming research spotlight series, I had some thoughts. Where can students and clinicians get these articles? What if clinicians and students want other research articles on a similar topic? Does everyone have access to occupational therapy research? Would they know where to start? If they have access through work, school, or as an alumnus, would they know the most efficient way to obtain articles on a topic? These questions lead me to first provide resources to access articles before the article summaries.

With a focus on evidence-based intervention, the need for accessing research on the efficacy of occupational therapy research is at an all time high. Though there are measures that are being taken to make access to research more feasible with subscription-based journals, such as free access articles, there are still limitations with access, especially after graduation from a university.

As a clinician, the lack of access can affect the usage of research to guide interventions.  For students, the wide range of available research can be daunting. Having a defined area to start with occupational therapy research is also of importance during the early stages of a literature review or when choosing intervention for an assignment or for a client while on Fieldwork.

These resources have been compiled to make occupational therapy research easier. Some databases are a great start while others are quite comprehensive. Guides have been provided with the more comprehensive sites to assist with searching these databases.

Database Resources

Google Scholar:  The easiest place to start to learn of the availability of research on your topic. Alerts can be setup using a Google Email and articles will be sent directly to your email. This site is great if you are completing a literature review on a topic and do not want to search daily on the topic to see what is new in the research area.  This is also a good resource if you are working in a certain practice area and want up to date research on interventions within that practice setting sent directly to your email.

Directory of Open Access Journals:  This database is easily searchable and has a wealth of resources from open access journals.  

Campbell Collaboration: Systematic reviews of a variety of interventions in one centralized area.  This is a great resource if you are working on a topic and you want a summary of what has been found from other research studies on the topic. Systematic reviews are on the top of the research hierarchy. So, results give a clear picture on the level of quality of the research study that was reviewed.

Education Resources Information Center (ERIC): This database has research articles related to education and the school-aged population. There is an option for Full Text Available on ERIC which has a pdf of the research article from the journal.

Elsevier Open Access Journals for Health Professionals: This is a good resource for up to date evidence on medically based interventions.

OTseeker: is a database that contains abstracts of systematic reviews, randomized controlled trials and other resources relevant to occupational therapy interventions. OTseeker does the work of rating the type of article, in addition to the validity of the research. This database has lost funding and is not as comprehensive as before. However, the work on the quality of the research is done and can be helpful during literature the early phases of literature reviews.

PubMed Resources

Pub Med: Large database of journal articles that are medically based. There is an option to choose full articles that are available on the site in the search option. Take a few minutes to review the FAQ section to refine searches and save precious time:

PubMed Central: Free, full text journal articles that are medically based. This database is more focused that PubMed and articles and journals are mainly organized based on funding.  Take a few minutes to review ways to refine your search:

Bonus: PubMed has a books section with online access to books on medical/health topics: FAQ section on how to refine search and place items across multiple platforms:

Open Access Occupational Therapy Journals

Open Journal of Occupational Therapy:

Open Therapy International:

Journal of Occupational Therapy Education:

Hong Kong Journal of Occupational Therapy:

Irish Journal of Occupational Therapy:

International Open Access Occupational Therapy Journals. Translation Available

Brazilian Journal of Occupational Therapy:

Chilean Journal of Occupational Therapy:

TOG (A Coruña):

Subscription-based Occupational Therapy Journals with Open Access articles:

These are a few occupational therapy journals that have open access articles. These would be nice way to stay informed by reviewing newly released journal issues to learn what is new in occupational therapy research using the table of contents and accessing the free articles for a more in-depth view.

American Journal of Occupational Therapy: Complete a search on your topic. Search results will have notations of Free or Open Access.

OTJR–Occupation, Participation and Health: This journal is published by the American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTF), the foundation that funds occupational therapy researchers.

British Journal of Occupational Therapy: There is a free sample section in this Journal and open access articles within each issue.

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