SITE VISIT: Biology Central

Science  22 May 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5367, pp. 1163a
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5367.1163a

Besides posting your favorite journals in cyberspace, what can scientific publishers add to the Web? Elsevier Science in London is trying hard to carve its own niche with BioMedNet (http://biomednet.com/), a site billed as “the worldwide club for the biological and medical community” that offers a wealth of free and fee-based resources—souped-up Medline searching, journals, news, job listings, and more.

The site's biggest draw, says press officer Ellen Spernagel, is its free version of Medline, the National Library of Medicine database of citations for 3600 journals. Abstracts in “Evaluated Medline” carry links to the full text of articles, which can be purchased by fax or mail from the British Library. BioMedNet also holds an online library of over 100 publications, such as Current Biology and The Scientist. (Prices for full-text articles average $7.) Another feature is HMS Beagle, a free biweekly Webzine with daily research news capsules, op-eds, discussions, and more. BioMedNet relaunched this week with several additions, including a bookstore called Galapagos and a database of nearly 4000 Web sites reviewed by outside scientists. The site also offers a mouse knockout and mutation database and Swiss-Prot, the protein database; both can be cross-searched with Medline.

More collaborations are in the works, including a patent news service and a macromolecular structures database. At over 200,000 registered users and 9000 unique users a day, BioMedNet describes itself as “the leading site for bio/medical research.” The only challenge for Web surfers may be staying afloat in the flood of information.

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