A medicine 'classic' goes online and far afield

May 06, 2010

Oxford University Press (OUP) has launched, for the first time online, the prestigious Oxford Textbook of Medicine. Generations of consultants, trainees, and medical students have relied on this "classic" for practical guidance on clinical management and the prevention of disease. Others, such as journalists, authors, and lawyers have used it as the ultimate reference medical book.

In print, this fifth edition of Oxford Textbook of Medicine is a three-volume heavyweight with just under 6,000 pages. It has taken around five years, and 750 of the world's foremost clinicians and medical scientists, to put it together. One of the biggest benefits of moving online will be the ability to update content regularly, based on clinical evidence, so physicians can be confident they're looking at the latest information.

The Oxford Textbook of Medicine online is part of a growing number of online medical products from OUP. It features the full text, figures, and illustrations found in the print version, as well as navigation, search, and browse tools, links to sources of related and further reading via PubMed, ISI, and CrossRef, images that can be downloaded to PowerPoint, and annual updates.

Online access in low- and middle-income countries

The Oxford Textbook of Medicine has always had a very international focus, with contributors from around the world, and in-depth coverage of the types of medical conditions often found in countries with a less-developed medical infrastructure, so the Wellcome Trust has chosen to sponsor online access to the Oxford Textbook of Medicine in low- and middle-income countries through the World Health Organization-led HINARI Access to Research in Health Programme. This will enable users at more than 3,500 institutions to access Oxford Textbook of Medicine for free, or at a greatly reduced cost.

Mark Walport, Wellcome Trust Director, said of the project: "The Oxford Textbook of Medicine plays a considerable part in consolidating the practice of evidence-based medicine around the world, and the Wellcome Trust is pleased to be a part of the initiative to ensure that high-quality research is widely disseminated. This will support these countries in building research capacity and promoting evidence-based medicine, ensuring that research knowledge is translated into practice."

The initiative to bring online access to the Oxford Textbook of to low- and middle-income countries dovetails the OUP and Wellcome Trust missions perfectly. The Trust aims to 'fund research to improve human and animal health' and is the UK's largest non-governmental source of funds for biomedical research, while OUP 'furthers [Oxford] University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.'

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