What is an embargo and what does it mean when a journal has one?
Last Updated: May 03, 2023     Views: 14

In academic publishing, an embargo means a journal publisher has restricted access to the full text of articles in the most recent issues for a certain period of time. Embargoes can be in effect anywhere from 6 to 24 months. During the embargo period, abstracts of the article are available but the full text is not.

When the library subscribes to an online version of a journal, it does not mean all print content is available. Publishers set embargoes to give first access to customers of a journal's print edition and to encourage users to subscribe directly before they make content available online. The library has no influence over a journal's embargo, and an embargo time period is generally based on usage patterns.

An article under embargo will still appear in search results even if you can't view the full text because it may be possible to get the article through document delivery, where a copy can be purchased directly from the publisher.

Check out the Request a Specific Document page for additional information on requesting an article through document delivery.

One of the easiest ways to avoid embargoed articles while searching is to ensure the full-text checkbox is checked when you are searching within a database. Look for a box on either the search or results page that reads Full Text. Checking this box will limit your search results to include only articles available in full text and filter out embargoed articles that only have abstracts.


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