On completion, the Medical Journals Backfiles Digitisation Project will deliver over three million pages of medical journals to the archive, free to anyone through standard search tools such as PubMed and Google.
The initiative was developed through a partnership between the Wellcome Trust, the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), the US National Library of Medicine (NLM) and a number of medical journal publishers.
The archive will contain a number of discoveries that have changed the face of medicine, including:
Participating publishers have also agreed to continue to deposit current content of their journals into this archive. They will be freely available after an embargo period: a maximum of one year for all research papers.
In addition to the faithful replication of every published page, the archive provides a number of innovative, value-added functions, including links from references to full text, high-resolution images, full text searching across the entire archive, and links from the original article to corrections and retractions and vice-versa.
Dr Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust, said: "This growing collection will be of lasting benefit to researchers, practitioners and medical historians worldwide. It will provide access to important scientific literature from the past, free of charge, to anyone in the world with internet access."
JISC's Executive Secretary, Dr Malcolm Read, said: "This archive and its commitment to free and open access to the outputs of scientific research demonstrates the value of collaboration between funding bodies, publishers, and the academic and research communities. JISC is delighted to have worked closely with the Wellcome Trust and the National Library of Medicine on what is an impressive and important resource."
Dr Donald AB Lindberg, Director of the National Library of Medicine said: "The importance of this archive is realised every day - our studies show that researchers and authors whose articles appear in PubMed Central are read and cited hundreds of times more than they were in their original print format. PubMed Central has greatly benefited from the journal content and funding contributions made possible by the Wellcome Library and the Joint Information Systems Committee."
The Backfiles archive can be accessed free of charge through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) full-text, life sciences repository PubMed Central(opens in a new tab) (PMC). Journals will be added to the archive as soon as they are digitised. PubMed citations are added to the database when the archive is complete.
JISC is a joint committee of the UK further and higher education funding bodies and is responsible for supporting the innovative use of information and communication technology (ICT) to support learning, teaching and research.It is best known for providing the JANET network, a range of support, content and advisory services, and a portfolio of high-quality resources.
This project is one of six digitisation projects being managed by JISC with funding from HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England). The JISC programme(opens in a new tab) represents a total investment of some £10 million in the digitisation of high-quality online content, including sound, moving pictures, newspapers, census data, journals and parliamentary papers for use by the UK further and higher education communities.
The Wellcome Trust was awarded the first Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) Europe Award for Outstanding Achievements in Scholarly Communications by SPARC Europe, for its work on open access. SPARC Europe represents over 100 European research-led university libraries from 14 European countries.
The National Library of Medicine (NLM), on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, is the world's largest medical library. The Library collects materials in all areas of biomedicine and health care, as well as works on biomedical aspects of technology, the humanities, and the physical, life, and social sciences. The collections stand at more than 8 million items: books, journals, technical reports, manuscripts, microfilms, photographs and images. Housed within the Library is one of the world's finest medical history collections of old and rare medical works. The Library's collection may be consulted in the reading room or requested on interlibrary loan.
For 125 years, the Library published the Index Medicus, a monthly subject/author guide to articles in 4000 journals. This information, and much more, is today available in PubMed(opens in a new tab). PubMed has more than 16 million Medline journal article references and abstracts going back to the mid-1960s,with another 1.5 million references back to the early 1950s. Additional citations are being added from the backfiles of journals scanned for PubMed Central.
The Wellcome Library(opens in a new tab) is one of the world's greatest collections for the study of the history of medicine. The print, manuscript audio, film, pictorial and digital collections are a national treasure and an unrivalled intellectual resource.
The Wellcome Trust is the most diverse biomedical research charity in the world, spending about £450 million every year both in the UK and internationally to support and promote research that will improve the health of humans and animals. The Trust was established under the will of Sir Henry Wellcome, and is funded from a private endowment, which is managed with long-term stability and growth in mind.