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Updates from Europe PMC, a global database of life sciences literature

Europe PMC team

 | 26 September 2013


Perspectives from the EMBO meeting

I was at the EMBO meeting in Amsterdam earlier this week, with a poster about Europe PMC.

Before I get onto that, three brief observations from the conference:

1. The plenary lecture was by Kai Simons, of lipid raft fame. Professor Simons gave a fascinating history of the development of this area of research. Having left the bench, I was interested to hear about new scientific advances at the conference, and particularly in this research area, as during my first post-doc job, I assisted a more senior colleague in preparing membrane fractions upon which to perform further research into amyloid-beta peptides involved in Alzheimer’s disease.

2. The conference was very hi-tech and eco-friendly: conference books were not printed unless specifically requested. Instead there was a conference App, that helped you to navigate the conference and keep your notes in order!

3. There were some great freebies from the exhibitors: beautiful 3D apple-shaped notebooks, iPad cleaning cloths, stickers and tea bags! The Europe PMC pens were generally a popular, if unimaginative, choice. I had run out by the end of the conference although one scientist refused a pen and told me ‘I don’t use pens any more’. I will have to modernise the Europe PMC offerings!

The Europe PMC poster covered three broad themes:

1. An introduction to Europe PMC. In essence that a single search in Europe PMC covers all of PubMed, a further 500,000 materials science abstracts from Agricola, 5 million biological patents, and 2.6 million Europe PMC full text articles, among others.

2. That a single click takes you directly from a mention of a gene/protein, disease, Gene Ontology term, organism, Accession number or chemical in a reasearch article to the relevant database, be that UniProt, ENA, InerPro, PDB, IntAct, ChEMBL, ChEBI or ArrayExpress. Accession numbers are a special case as they represent specific data citations, in a similar vein to article citations within an article. You can now create RSS feeds to receive alerts of data citations. More is described in this earlier post on this blog.

3. That Europe PMC provides various programmatic routes to access all of the publications and related information in the database. These can all be accessed via the resources menu on Europe PMC and you can read more about some of them in posts from this blog: about the RESTful web service (articles), the SOAP web service, and the RESTful web service (grant data).

View of Amsterdam: Shutterstock 105440600

And to finish, since I appear to be writing in lists of three, what did I find to do in the evenings and after the conference finished in Amsterdam?!

1. A canal boat trip
2. The Anne Frank Museum
3. Het Grachtenhuis | The Museum of the Amsterdam Canals


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Europe PMC is a service of the Europe PMC Funders' Group, in partnership with EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI); and in cooperation with the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NCBI/NLM) . It includes content provided to the PubMed Central (NLM/PMC) archive by participating publishers.