Friday Free Stuff: Life science articles on PubMed Central

23 March 2012

A lot of subjects have repositories of free or open access journal articles. One of the big ones is PubMed Central for biomedical and life sciences. It started in 2000 by providing free full-text access to 2 journals - now nearly 3000 journals participate in full or in part, and it holds 2.4 million articles.

It's run by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, and its strong growth is helped by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) mandate that NIH-funded research must be freely accessible via PubMed Central. (Other organisations have created similar mandates - most recently, Australia's NHMRC.)

Careful not to confuse PubMed Central (PMC) with PubMed! PMC is a free full-text archive, while PubMed is a free citation database. PubMed doesn't have any full-text itself, it just indexes and links to it - which might be on PMC or another free or open access publisher, or it might be on a database which UC may or may not subscribe to. Check with your liaison librarian if you're not sure. :-)

Deborah Fitchett
Liaison Librarian