European Bioinformatics Institute to lead UK PubMed Central

The European Molecular Biology Laboratory’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) has been awarded the contract to run and lead the development of UK PubMed Central (UKPMC), the free online literature resource for life science researchers.

Now five years old, UKPMC has grown from a simple mirror of the USA-based National Center for Biotechnology Information PubMed Central site to a stand-alone site providing access to a repository of more than two million full-text biomedical research articles, more than 25 million citations from PubMed and Agricola, patents from the European Patent Office, UK treatment guidelines and biomedical PhD theses.

Content is discoverable via an integrated full text and abstract search and is semantically enriched by the application of cutting-edge text mining approaches. More than 250,000 articles are published under open-access licenses, which means their contents can be freely reused.

The UK funding organisations that support UKPMC wish to build upon this success through a new five-year contract awarded to EMBL-EBI, who will lead the development of the service in partnership with the University of Manchester and the British Library. The goal is to build a gold-standard digital repository for biomedical literature that benefits life science researchers throughout the world.

"We want to help researchers make the best possible use of the scientific literature by building deep content links between articles and the underlying data," said Dr Johanna McEntyre, Head of Literature Services at EMBL-EBI. "If we manage that, UKPMC will give people a chance to navigate the biomedical information space in an intuitive way."

The service will be funded by a significantly expanded group of funding organisations. Eight funders launched the service in 2007; the new contract sees the participation of 18 UK and European funders, led by the Wellcome Trust.

"We are delighted that additional funders are supporting UKPMC and requiring the outputs of the research they fund to be made freely available through this open access repository," said Sir Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust. "We want to build on the success of the past five years and, in partnership with research funders across Europe, transform UKPMC into a single, Europe-wide, open access repository for the life sciences."

Over the next five years, UK PubMed Central funders will continue to seek the involvement of scientific publishers as well as a broad range of funding agencies, universities and other research institutions to better serve research communities throughout Europe and beyond.