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Wellcome Trust and NLM Partnership to Provide Free Access to 150 Years of Medical Research Reaches Half-Million Page Milestone

September 27, 2017

Following the signing of a 2014 memorandum of understanding (MOU) to make thousands of complete back issues of historically-significant biomedical journals freely available through the National Institutes of Health life sciences repository PubMed Central (PMC), and through its European counterpart, Europe PMC, the US National Library of Medicine and the Wellcome Trust have released multiple titles—encompassing more than 45,000 individual articles and nearly a half million pages—with more to come.

The titles now available include:

The NLM/Wellcome collaboration to make these titles and others publicly available builds on the Medical Journal Backfiles Digitization Project of 2004-2010) and contributes to the current PMC archive of over 4 million articles from medical journals. The content from these titles is free to read, and also to download, text mine, and re-use via the PMC Text Mining Collections, which includes the PMC Open Access Subset and the Historical OCR Collection. License terms vary by title; see PMC Back Issue Digitization for more details.

The terms of the 2014 MOU between the NLM and the Wellcome Trust included a gift of £750,000 ($1.2 million) to the NLM which—combined with substantial support from the NLM—initiated this three-year project to scan articles from these and other selected titles from NLM’s collection, as well as the Wellcome’s work to secure copyright clearances and permissions for electronic deposit from publishers. Also per the MOU, the NLM conserved the original titles to ensure their preservation for future generations. The NLM is authorized to accept donations in support of its mission.

Wellcome Collection is a free museum and library exploring health, life and our place in the world. Through exhibitions, collections, live programming, digital, broadcast and publishing, Wellcome Collection creates opportunities for people to think deeply about the connections between science, medicine, life and art. The library is one of the world's leading libraries of medical history, housing 2.5 million items of extraordinary range and diversity, and a growing collection of contemporary biomedical information resources relating to consumer health, popular science, biomedical ethics and the public understanding of science.

Wellcome Collection is part of Wellcome, a global charitable foundation that exists to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas to thrive. Both politically and financially independent, we support scientists and researchers, take on big problems, fuel imaginations and spark debate.


The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is a leader in research in biomedical informatics and data science and the world’s largest biomedical library. NLM conducts and supports research in methods for recording, storing, retrieving, preserving, and communicating health information. NLM creates resources and tools that are used billions of times each year by millions of people to access and analyze molecular biology, biotechnology, toxicology, environmental health, and health services information. Additional information is available at

Last Reviewed: September 27, 2017