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PubMed Central: creating an Aladdin's cave of ideas

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: (Published 06 January 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:1

We have seen the future, and it works

  1. Tony Delamothe, web editor,,
  2. Richard Smith, editor
  1. BMJ

    If you have an apple and I have an apple and if we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.


    Starting this week, research articles from the BMJ will be freely available from PubMed Central, the new web based repository that will archive, organise, and distribute peer reviewed reports from biomedical journals ( This will be in addition to their continuing free availability on The BMJ articles join those from 15 other journals. More are expected to follow suit.

    PubMed Central's distinguishing characteristic is that it offers the full text of articles, free to users. Think of it as the logical extension of Medline, which offers the bibliographic details of articles and their abstracts. It depends on publishers and societies transferring peer reviewed articles to PubMed Central, which, like Medline, is funded by the US National Institutes of Health.

    A phenomenal advance

    The BMJ has joined PubMed Central because we agree with Nick Cozzarelli, editor of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (also on PubMed Central), that “free access to the scientific literature would be a phenomenal advance in scientific publishing—the greatest in our lifetime.”1 We want to align ourselves with an initiative …

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