Intended for healthcare professionals


The new BMJ online archive

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 29 April 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1744
  1. Tony Delamothe, deputy editor
  1. 1BMJ, London WC1H 9JR

A single search can find any article published in the BMJ since 1840

Every BMJ article published since the journal’s first issue in October 1840 is now available online from This was achieved by digitally scanning 824 183 pages of the print journal. It cost about $1 (£0.68; €0.76) a page and was made possible by the extraordinary generosity of the US National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the United Kingdom’s Wellcome Trust and Joint Information Systems Committee.

The journey began in 2000, when the BMJ announced it would be the first general medical journal to sign up with PubMed Central.1 This project, to create a free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature, was masterminded by the US National Center for Biotechnology Information under the aegis of the NLM.2 Three years later, the NLM offered to digitise the archival content of publishers participating in PubMed Central to create complete digital archives of their journals. In return for permanent rights to archive and distribute the material freely through PubMed Central, the library offered to fund the cost of cover to cover scanning …

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