WHO commits to open access by joining Europe PubMed Central

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced today that it will become a member of the open access repository Europe PubMed Central (Europe PMC), joining 25 other life sciences and biomedical research funders. The announcement is in preparation for the launch of the WHO open access policy on 1 July 2014.

Dr Marie-Paule Kieny, Assistant Director-General of the WHO Health Systems and Innovation cluster, said: “WHO is delighted to join Europe PubMed Central. WHO’s open access policy is central to our commitment to universal access to information. Europe PMC will provide the platform for researchers to freely access and reuse WHO-authored and WHO-funded research, for the benefit of global health.”

Europe PMC provides free access to nearly 3 million full-text biomedical research articles, over 23m abstracts from PubMed and 4m biological and patent records. This content is discoverable via an integrated full-text and abstract search, and includes citation information and links to research databases.

Dr Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust, said: “We are delighted that WHO has joined Europe PMC and hope this paves the way for other organisations to participate in this repository. We believe that providing free, unrestricted access to research articles helps to maximise the impact of research spend, and are pleased that WHO-funded research outputs will now be added to the growing corpus of open access content.”

Europe PMC is managed and developed by the European Molecular Biology Laboratory-European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) on behalf of Europe PMC’s funders. Since 2006, Europe PMC has grown from being a simple mirror of the US National Center for Biotechnology Information’s PubMed Central database to being a standalone site, providing critical infrastructure for European funders who require open access for their research outputs.

The decision of WHO to join the expanded Europe PMC resource comes at a time when providing free access to research outputs continues to be championed at the highest levels within the UK and Europe. Europe PMC is playing a vital role in realising these ambitions.