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NIH's Public Archive for the Refereed Literature: PUBMEDCENTRAL

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  • Simone Caramel
    Subject: NIH s Public Archive for the Refereed Literature: PUBMED CENTRAL ... Date: Mon, 30 Aug 1999 18:37:39 -0400 From: Varmus, Harold
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 1, 1999
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      Subject: NIH's Public Archive for the Refereed Literature:
      ---------- Forwarded message ----------
      Date: Mon, 30 Aug 1999 18:37:39 -0400
      From: "Varmus, Harold" <hvarmus@...>

      The commentary period for the E-biomed proposal has
      been enormously helpful, and after considering the
      hundreds of letters and e-mail messages we have
      received, and the many meetings we have held, we
      have issued a statement on e-publication and the NIH
      repository for life sciences literature.

      It will also be available on the NIH Web site at

      Thank you for your help in this work. I welcome your
      ongoing support of PubMed Central.

      Harold Varmus, M.D.
      Director, National Institutes of Health


      In the four months since we proposed E-biomed -- a system
      that would make results from the world's life sciences
      research community freely available on the Internet
      (http://www.nih.gov/welcome/director/ebiomed/ebiomed.htm) --
      we have heard from hundreds of people and have had
      discussions with dozens of interested organizations.
      they support or oppose the proposal, these commentators have
      made valuable suggestions, many of which have been
      incorporated into this statement.

      Although the fundamental principles that motivated our
      proposal remain, specific aspects have evolved in
      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
      to the NIH.

      In an effort to put the system into operation, the NIH will
      establish a Web-based repository for barrier-free access to
      primary reports in the life sciences. This repository --
      which we consider to be the initial site in an international
      system -- will be called PubMed Central, based on its
      integration with the existing PubMed biomedical literature
      database. PubMed itself will extend its coverage of the
      sciences and continue its linkage to external online

      PubMed Central will archive, organize and distribute 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
      the participants.

      Peer-reviewed reports will be provided to PubMed Central
      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, we recognize the concerns of publishers about
      financial consequences of rapid submission and will welcome
      content submitted at any time.

      The 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
      and subjected to formal peer review by journal editorial
      boards. In other cases, these reports may never be
      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 we believe that such
      groups -- and other responsible groups yet to be constituted
      -- can bring diversity and experience to the oversight of
      non-peer-reviewed material. We emphasize that this material
      will be clearly distinguishable from the peer-reviewed
      content of PubMed Central.

      NIH's responsibility will be limited to maintaining this
      central repository, specifically:

      * Facilitating the input of SGML-tagged content from
      * Developing technology for enhanced retrieval,
      presentation, and navigation;
      * Improving the access to and utility of the content in
      PubMed Central for other information resources,
      publishers, and database groups;
      * Coordinating with the repository efforts of international
      partners in the system; and
      * Archiving the content and working to guarantee
      accessibility in the future.

      An 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 Chemical
      * 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,
      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
      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
      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 overall resource.

      We now invite the scientific community to engage in this
      exciting new venture. We plan to be ready to make reports
      accessible through PubMed Central by January 2000.
      Publishers, societies, editorial boards and other
      organizations interested in depositing content in PubMed
      > Central are urged to contact us at PubMedCentral@....

      August 30, 1999


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