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Last year the World Health Organisation announced that a consortium of medical publishers was to provide physicians and scientists in the world's poorest countries with cheap access to biomedical research journals via the Internet.

Not enough, according to a letter in this week’s issue of Nature, which argues that most of the articles made available in this way will be geared to the medical problems of patients in developed countries.

The letter calls for journals to focus on content, not just distribution. A good first step would be to commit a consistent quota of pages — say 15 per cent — to articles that address the medical concerns of developing countries.

Reference: Nature 415, 575 (2002)

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