PubMed changes suggested

Steven B. Harris sbharris at ix.netcom.com
Fri Mar 19 05:26:43 EST 1999

In <7cr3i9$p3s$0 at> blades at novagate.com writes: 

>My overriding concern is the fact that PubMed will not allow
downloading of 
>journal articles unless one is a "health professional" and has a
>contract with a "local health science library" defining costs, methods
>payment, and method of delivery.

    You're completely missing the point here.  It's not that medline
has the entire journal article texts and won't "allow" you to download
them.  They simply don't have them.  Nobody does, for articles older
than a few years.  When you order one of these things through loansome
doc, some guy has to photocopy it in a library somewhere and SNAILMAIL
it to you.  That costs money, and it should.

   There are a few journals where full text is available online, since
the time editing was done in word-processor compatible format (and
you'd be astounded how long the major publishers held out against
desktop methods and programs).  But you don't have to be a doctor to
get these.  If you visit the AMA website at www.ama-assn you'd find
full texts articles of all the subspecialty journals going back 5 years
or so.

>This policy denies inexpensive access to medical information often
funded by 
>public tax monies through NIH or through publicly funded universities.
>is outrageous.

   It's outrageous that you're so misinformed.

> 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
>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.

    Somebody still does it at a photocopier, if it's more than 5 years
old.  What a crumby use of my tax dollars.

>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 the 
>general public. (All us poor 'ol "health consumers"!).  My concern is
that the 
>medical establishment has a choke lock on information and would
>resist such a policy.  The only hope I see is for many large
>organizations to lobby for such a change.

    The only hope I see if for you to let go of some of your paranoia. 
I can't get anything on medline that you can't.

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