Future directions for UKPMC

Added by Branwen Hide on 20 February 2009 13:11

There is a very interesting entry by Frank Norman (Library & Information Service at NIMRI) about UK PubMedCentral (UKPMC) project on Nature Network.

Other than using UKPMC to find material, I have to admit it is something I don?t know very much about. Those involved in the UKPMC project are trying to build a useful and usable resource for health science researchers, which will incorporate advanced text mining to enrich the literature and thereby to make ?undiscovered science? accessible. In Addition, UKPMC is going to incorporate CiteXplore. CiteXplore itself is a separate piece of software developed by EMBL-EBI scientists to link electronic literature resources to bioinformatics databases. Not only does it integrate abstracts from a wide variety of sources, and link to full-text articles at various locations such as PMC and publisher websites, it also provides a direct link between the scientific literature and the EMBL-EBI?s biological databases which is highly advantageous to researchers. CiteXplore will also highlight where the article has been cited, and will even show you the sentence in which the original article was cited, thus making it easier to interpret the significance of each citation.

The UKPMC project is actively considering other resources to add to enhance the search service, and it will be interesting to see if they go the direction of the PubMed Central Canada initiative, which Franks mentions briefly. One of the final stages of the Canadian project is for the National Research Council’s Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (NRC-CISTI) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to jointly approach the US National Library Medicine to co-sponsor the Canadian PMC as a mirror site to PubMed Central and ?officially? enter into the PubMed Central International (PMCI) network. If this initiative goes forward the PMCI network would be a tremendous resource for researchers globally.

Saying this though, the resource is only as good as the information that is put in it, in this case full length articles. In the UK, despite various mandates and statements on open access from the Research Councils, and research funders such as the Wellcome Trust, there does seem to be some difficulty in getting researchers to deposit their work. This is not just the case for UKPMC, but also with institutional repositories as well. Last week I attended Digital Repositories- What?s in it for you, at the University of Stirling. The aim of the event among other things was to discuss ways to encourage/help researchers become comfortable with populating a digital repository. It was felt that not only did it have to be easy to use, that really in fact it had to be harder not to, and should be an integrated part of their work flow. It was also highlighted that researchers really needed to be shown the benefits of depositing their articles. Something the RIN also highlighted in our report To Share Or Not To Share, which looks at the data sharing practises of academic researchers across all disciplines.

A problem I see is that we may end up in a situation where the information is spread over a number of repositories which do not necessarily talk to each other so information may become lost. This is why it is nice to see initiatives like UKPMC which is bringing in other search services like CiteXplore so that is can capture more information and the Canadian PMC which ultimately wants to the develop a PMCI network


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