Brussels/London, 15 May 2008 — The international medical humanitarian organisation Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) today launched a website on which it makes available, for free, published research based on its medical work. This research has frequently demonstrated pioneering approaches for tackling a broad range of diseases in many countries and, often, has influenced clinical practice. Well-known examples are MSF’s pioneering work in treating populations with HIV using antiretroviral medications and malaria with artemisinin-containing treatment. MSF hopes that health professionals, policy makers and researchers, especially those in developing countries, will now have easier access to the results of MSF’s field research.
MSF is archiving all its peer-reviewed research and commentary articles on the site. At its launch, there are over 350 articles on HIV care, malaria, tuberculosis, leishmaniasis and other diseases, as well as more general topics such as medical care in emergencies, refugee health and health politics. As new articles are published, they will be archived on the site.
The articles have been published in journals such as BMJ, New England Journal of Medicine, PloS Medicine, The Lancet, and Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. The publishers of these, and many other peer-reviewed journals, have responded positively to MSF’s request to make their articles available free of charge; as a rule, articles from many of these publications are available only for a fee.
“We were concerned that health professionals in developing countries would not be able to pay for access to our medical research and would miss information that could be highly relevant to their work,” says Tony Reid, medical editor at the office of MSF in Brussels. “The vast majority of our medical activities, and by extension our research initiatives, take place in poorer countries. We therefore applaud the willingness of medical publishers to allow us to archive the articles free of charge for the global medical community. The new website, at www.fieldresearch.msf.org, requires no password or sign-up and full-text articles are available for free.
The articles are easily accessed through the site’s search function, and also through search engines such as Google or Yahoo. And through an RSS feed users can choose to be notified of new publications on the site.