This article discusses the medical journals back-files digitization project - an initiative to create a critical mass of digital content based on the back-files of a number of historically significant medical journals. All content is made freely available through the NIH life sciences repository, PubMed Central (PMC).
The project, however, is not limited to historical, archival content. All publishers that participate in this initiative agree to deposit current and future issues with the PMC archive, and make all research papers freely available within an embargo-defined period. As such, this project is in accord with the open access principles espoused by the project sponsors - the Wellcome Trust, the JISC, and the US National Library of Medicine.
This paper considers some of the value-added services this project has developed, and explores why the Wellcome Trust is supporting open and unrestricted access to the research literature and what it is doing to help realize its open access policy.