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New Electronic Resource Announced
NIH To Establish, Maintain PubMed Central

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NIH announced its plan Aug. 30 to establish a repository for electronic distribution of primary research reports in the life sciences. The new NIH-supported site is to be called PubMed Central. It will be integrated with the widely used bibliographic site PubMed (, and is intended to be one of several repositories in an international system first proposed by NIH director Dr. Harold Varmus last May. PubMed Central will begin receiving, storing and distributing content — including peer-reviewed articles, preprints, and other screened reports from existing journals, new journals, and reputable scientific organizations — in January 2000.


"In the 4 months since we proposed what we then called E-biomed, we have heard from hundreds of people and have had discussions with dozens of interested organizations," Varmus said. "Whether the views support or oppose the proposal, these comments have included valuable suggestions. Our focus remains as it was: to make important research literature available without barriers on the Internet, and we now have a plan for a system that ultimately will enrich the reading experience, deepen discussions among scientists, and enhance information flow from the world's investment in life sciences research."

The NIH mission is to conduct and support medical research and to disseminate the results of that research widely to the public and the scientific community. NIH will make use of electronic-publishing technology to fulfill the dissemination goal by establishing and maintaining PubMed Central, a Web-based repository that will archive, organize, and distribute peer-reviewed reports from journals, as well as reports that have been screened but not formally peer reviewed. Screening and peer review of manuscripts will be the responsibility of scientific publishers, professional societies and other groups independent of NIH. As a result of the interest in this proposal and the comments from the scientific community, the scope of the content has been expanded to include the life sciences in general, including plant and agricultural research as well as biology and medicine.

A summary about the e-publishing venture can be found at

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