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The PubMed Central Project
What is PubMed
PubMed Central is the barrier-free NIH
repository for peer-reviewed primary research reports in the life
sciences, which began accepting journal articles in January 2000.
In the months since the NIH first proposed E-biomed -- a system that would make results from the world's life-sciences research community freely available on the Internet -- they heard from hundreds of people and have had discussions with dozens of interested organizations. Whether the people supported or opposed the proposal, these comments have been incorporated into this NIH's overall view of the PubMed Central project.
Although the fundamental principles that motivated
the original proposal remain, specific aspects have evolved in significant
ways. First, the scope of the content has expanded to include the
life sciences in general, including plant and agricultural research
as well as biology and medicine. Second, the screening of
non-peer-reviewed reports will be the responsibility of groups that
have no direct relationship to the NIH.
The NIH will has established a Web-based repository
for barrier-free access to primary reports in the life sciences.
This repository, PubMed Central, will extend its coverage of the
life sciences and continue its linkage to external online journals.
PubMed Central archives, organizes and distributes
peer-reviewed reports from journals, as well as reports that have
been screened but not formally peer-reviewed. In addition, it will
coordinate with similar efforts to establish servers internationally,
including those overseen by the European Molecular Biology
Organization (EMBO). Scientific publishers, professional societies,
and other groups independent of the NIH will have complete
responsibility for the input to PubMed Central. Copyright will
reside with the submitting groups (i.e., the publishers, societies,
or editorial boards) or the authors themselves, as determined by the
Peer-reviewed reports will be provided to PubMed
Central from participating publishers and societies that have
mediated the review process. The submission of content to PubMed
Central can occur at any time after acceptance for publication, at
the discretion of the participants. Although early deposition
offers the greatest benefit to the scientific community, and the NIH recognizes
the concerns of publishers about financial consequences of rapid
submission and will welcome content submitted at any time.
non-peer-reviewed reports will also enter PubMed Central through
independent organizations, which will be responsible for screening
this material. Many of the non-peer-reviewed reports will be
"preprints," both deposited in PubMed Central and subjected to formal
peer review by journal editorial boards. In other cases, these
reports may never be submitted to a journal for traditional peer
review, yet will be deposited in PubMed Central because, in the
judgment of the screening organization, they provide valuable data to
the research community. Some publishers and societies have already
planned preprint servers, and it is believed that such groups -- and
other responsible groups yet to be constituted -- can bring diversity
and experience to the oversight of the non-peer-reviewed material.
This material will be clearly distinguished from the peer-reviewed content of PubMed Central.
responsibility will be limited to maintaining this central
- Facilitating the
input of SGML-tagged content from submitters;
technology for enhanced retrieval, presentation, and
- Improving the access to and utility of the content in
PubMed Central for other information resources, publishers, and
- Coordinating with the repository efforts of
international partners in the system; and
- Archiving the content
and working to guarantee accessibility in the future.
international advisory committee will be constituted by learned
societies interested in fostering the development of PubMed Central
and the collaborating international repositories. One of the
important functions of the advisory committee will be to establish
criteria for certifying groups that may submit peer-reviewed or
screened material to PubMed Central. In the meantime, the initial
criteria will be:
- Any journal currently
indexed by the major abstracting and indexing services: EMBASE,
Biosis, MEDLINE, Science Citation Index, Agricola, PsycINFO, and
- Any organization with at least three members
who are principal investigators on research grants from major funding
agencies and foundations (for example, NIH, NSF, DOE, NASA, or HHMI
in the United States, and equivalent organizations abroad).
In order to facilitate participation in this initiative, some of the expenses associated with publication may shift from readers to authors. As they do with journal subscriptions, page
charges, and reprints, NIH grantees (and those of other funding
agencies) may choose to use funds to pay any additional expenses,
e.g., submission and document preparation charges.
Participating journals and other organizations will submit
complete research reports to PubMed Central and access to the entire
report will be free to individuals through PubMed Central. The
status of all reports -- peer-reviewed or screened -- and the
identity of the contributing organization will be clearly indicated.
The PubMed Central staff will work with the publisher to establish an
efficient data flow and make this content available as soon as
possible. They will also work to satisfy publishers' needs to
preserve the distinctive appearance of their journals' contents in
PubMed Central without compromising the overall utility of the
repository. Appropriate links to the publisher's site will also be
included. PubMed Central will solicit the views of participating
publishers to best serve their needs and enhance the value of the
The NIH invites the scientific community to
engage in the venture. PubMed Central became available on January 2000.
Publishers, societies, editorial boards and other organizations
interested in depositing content in PubMed Central are now urged to
contact them at PubMedCentral@nih.gov.
Who can participate in
All material in PubMed Central will be
contributed by journals currently indexed by one of the major
abstracting and indexing services, or journals that have three or
more research-grant holders from major funding agencies on their
editorial boards. More...
support PubMed Central
Several organizations have expressed
support for PubMed Central, and some are interested in putting their
journals on PubMed Central. Those organizations include:
Association of Academic Health
Association of Research Libraries
Current Science Group
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