The Wellcome Trust and the US National Library of Medicine are intending to set up a UK-based version of the free open-access online health research directory PubMed Central.

Unlike conventional pay-for-access print and online journals, PubMed Central is freely available, with funding coming from researchers paying to have their papers included. The research charity has put out to tender for organisations who wish to run the database, with a deadline of June 10. The UK version would follow this same business model of paid inclusion.

Dr Mark Walport, director of the Wellcome Trust, said: "We are determined to make the results of the research we fund freely available to anyone who wants them. We believe that central archives are the way to achieve this. The outcome of research is new knowledge about disease and health. Maximising the value of research means maximising the distribution of the results."

A spokesperson for the Wellcome Trust explained that the new research directory would be primarily UK-focused, but would also accept research papers from the rest of Europe, and would be accessible from all over the world.

The Wellcome Trust told E-Health Insider that as leading advocates of open-access journals they be working in putting the case forward for the site and will act as ringleaders for the implementation of the project. The site will be developed with funding from the British Heart Foundation, the Arthritis Research Campaign and the Joint Information Systems Committee.

The UK-based site will also include links to other online resources as well as a fully searchable and indexed archive.

In July 2004, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee published a report about paid-access scientific journals, entitled ‘Scientific Publications: Free for All?’, recommending the government keep a closer eye on the profit margins of companies that produce paid-access scientific journals. The government rejected the recommendations of the committee.