PubMed changes suggested

Brett Lindenbach brett at BORCIM.WUSTL.EDU
Mon Mar 29 13:33:17 EST 1999

Whoa, Blades.
	Journal articles may be publications of government-funded science
(most of the time), but the journals themselves are for profit or non-profit
organizations, without government subsidy.  Your plan is to have their
contents freely distributed to all taxpayers?  If you are really interested
in perusing the literature, get over to a library or subscribe like the
rest of us.  As for the costs, I agree that they are expensive, but they are
also highly specialized (small market), usually without advertisements, and
most journals typically use high quality printing methods.
	Also, I have never heard that only "health professionals" are
allowed to use medical libraries, and in fact, at my medical school library,
which I use nearly every day, I see people from all walks of life in there.
I hope this clarifies things for you.

>- - - - - - - - - - - - - - Original Message - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
>My overriding concern is the fact that PubMed will not allow downloading of
>journal articles unless one is a "health professional" and has a signed
>contract with a "local health science library" defining costs, methods of
>payment, and method of delivery.
>This policy denies inexpensive access to medical information often funded by
>public tax monies through NIH or through publicly funded universities.  This
>is outrageous.  Physicians and journals have a self interest in keeping
>information from the public, and they succeed only too well.
>I happen to be one who doesn't have access to a medical school library.
>Fortunately there is a sympathetic librarian at a local hospital which
>to the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, and can get me copies of
>most articles at no cost.
>I believe Medscape will supply on-line d/l of copies of journal articles
>but I
>think at a cost of $25 each which is outrageous and unwarranted.
>I must confess, I worried about tackling PubMed/MedLine head on in regard to
>your suggestion about highlight terms and defining MESH terms, but also in
>regard to free (or very inexpensive) downloading of articles from them for
>general public. (All us poor 'ol "health consumers"!).  My concern is that
>medical establishment has a choke lock on information and would undoubtedly
>resist such a policy.  The only hope I see is for many large non-profit
>organizations to lobby for such a change.
>Unfortunately when I approached two of them, they said it was a good idea,
>they had no funds for that lobbying effort.
>Freedom of access on the internet is almost useless with regard to medical
>journal/study information (unless there's some way I haven't been able to
>locate in 18 months of searching sporadically).

Brett Lindenbach
brett at
Dept of Molecular Microbiology
Washington University School of Medicine

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