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Canada joins international effort to provide access to health research

PubMed Central repository will open new pathway to Canadian health research


Ottawa, ON (July 6, 2009) – Accelerating the development of discoveries and innovations and facilitating their adoption through free and open access to research findings. This is the aim of an important new initiative that will provide researchers and knowledge users free access to a vast digital archive of published health research at their desktop and connect them to an emerging international network of digital archives anchored in the United States.


The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the National Research Council’s Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (NRC-CISTI), and the US National Library of Medicine (NLM) have announced a three-way partnership to establish PubMed Central Canada (PMC Canada). PMC Canada will be a national digital repository of peer-reviewed health and life sciences literature, including research resulting from CIHR funding. This searchable Web-based repository will be permanent, stable and freely accessible.


PMC Canada is a powerful tool that will help researchers build upon one another’s work and speed up the discovery and innovation process to address important health challenges,” says Dr. Ian Graham, Vice-President of Knowledge Translation at CIHR. “It will provide quick and easy access to a much broader audience, increasing the value and application of CIHR-funded research.”


PMC Canada supports CIHR’s recently announced Policy on Access to Research Outputs, under which grant recipients are required to ensure that their peer reviewed publications are freely accessible online within six months of publication. PMC Canada will include a manuscript submission system to enable CIHR-funded researchers to deposit articles that are accepted for publication by peer reviewed journals.


PMC Canada builds on the successful PubMed Central (PMC) archive developed by the US National Library of Medicine and will join UK PubMed Central (UKPMC) as a member of the broader PMC International network. This network enables national versions of PMC to share content, and will make much of PubMed Central and UKPMC content accessible through PMC Canada. The network uses software developed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), the division of NLM that created and administers PMC. 


“We are pleased that Canada is joining the PMC International family, further strengthening this effort to share life sciences literature across the world,” says NLM Director Donald A.B. Lindberg, M.D.  “International collaboration and data sharing has proven to be a strong driver of scientific advance, with projects such as the GenBank international DNA sequence database propelling new discoveries at a rapid pace. The addition of Canada as a PMCI member should similarly aid the progress of science, while also enhancing public access to the results of research that affects health and health care.”  


CIHR will supply the funds for PMC Canada and NRC-CISTI will contribute its technological expertise to build the infrastructure and manage the repository.


“NRC is proud to be a partner in an initiative that will create a permanent archive for Canadian health research and increase access for all Canadians,” says Dr. Pierre Coulombe, President, NRC. “This initiative is an important step forward in NRC-CISTI’s efforts to collaborate with others to provide Canadians with seamless and permanent access to scientific, technical and health information.”


The initial release of PMC Canada, to be available in fall 2009, will include a basic bilingual interface, a manuscript submission system for CIHR researchers and a bilingual help desk. An advisory committee of Canadian health researchers and other stakeholders will guide PMC Canada’s future development.


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