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JMLA Spotlight: "PubMed’s core clinical journals filter: redesigned for contemporary clinical impact and utility"

Welcome to JMLA Spotlight! Each JMLA issue is filled with incredible articles and new knowledge. The article introduced below is "PubMed’s core clinical journals filter: redesigned for contemporary clinical impact and utility" in the July 2023 issue of the Journal of the Medical Library Association (JMLA).


Michele Klein-Fedyshin, MSLS, BSN, RN, AHIP, FMLA

Research & Clinical Instruction Librarian

Health Sciences Library System

University of Pittsburgh



The fifty-year-old PubMed Core Clinical Journal list has been redesigned using real-world data. Starting with an evaluation of what subjects the list needed to cover, journal usage at hundreds of clinical sites was incorporated with patient-driven indicators to designate subjects and then usage-selected journals. This new list has a wider focus encompassing more health care professions. Since the new list can push clinically used journals to first pages of results, it has been renamed to Clinically Useful Journals.

From over 1,600 journals analyzed, the list designates 241 titles from 80 subjects. New subject coverage includes Substance-Related Disorders, Medical Genetics, Nephrology, Anti-Infective Agents, Psychopharmacology, Palliative Care, Sports Medicine, and more.

Librarians can use the data-driven list to create customized searches in for their institutional clinicians to apply, plus it's a tool for journal collection development.

Search efficiency is very important to librarians and clinicians alike. With 75%-80% of the physicians in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom searching PubMed [1], the potential increase in search efficiency from a clinically grounded journals filter is substantial. Time constraints present a major barrier to pursuing answers to clinical questions, especially when too much of the retrieved information is not clinically relevant [1]. The time to select documents from a list of search results could be significantly reduced with the new filter, increasing the likelihood of evidence-informed care.

The results of this project can be used by a wide variety of healthcare professionals to quickly find information applicable to real-world clinical questions.


  1. Davies KS. Physicians and their use of information: a survey comparison between the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. J Med Libr Assoc. 2011 Jan;99(1):88-91. DOI: 10.3163/1536-5050.99.1.015. PMID: 21243061; PMCID: PMC3016665.


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