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PubMed Central in the UK

Another landmark open access development was announced yesterday in the UK – UK PubMed Central (UKPMC) has been launched.

The original PubMed Central is hosted by NIH’s National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), at the National Library of Medicine in the US. The aim of the database is to provide public and long-term access to research literature from biomedical and life science journals. The UK initiative has been spearheaded by the Wellcome Trust and supported by another eight research funders in the UK.

One of the very encouraging aspects to yesterday’s announcements is that the funding agencies have either mandated, or are considering mandating, deposition of the articles that arise from the research that they fund into UKPMC, within six months of publication. This means that the vast majority of medical research literature funded by UK agencies will be open access, albeit after a delay, but this puts the UK firmly at the vanguard of public access to medical literature. Come on NIH – what’s the holdup?

Another great thing about PMC and UKPMC is that the literature is going to be integrated with the fantastic biomedical databases and bioinformatics resources available at places like NCBI and the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI). You can see this in action at PMC right now – take a look at the “Related Material” link and select “Gene” at the left hand side of this PLoS Biology article, to get a flavour of what’s possible.

UKPMC and PMC will mirror one another’s content and are part of a network of repositories called PMC International. UK PMC has been developed by three institutions – the British Library, The University of Manchester and the EBI. Further information can be obtained in the announcements from the Wellcome Trust, the JISC, and the EBI.

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