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How is Africa to build up the medical research it needs? Doctors in African research communities are starved of access to the journals and texts that their colleagues in more developed countries regard as fundamental to good practice and research.

In this article, Massey Beveridge and colleagues from the Office of International Surgery (OIS) at the University of Toronto, Canada, describe how they have developed an innovative initiative to provide African researchers with access to the university library's extensive electronic resources.

Named the 'Ptolemy project' — after the general who built the great library in Alexandria — the initiative has appointed 100 surgeons in East Africa as 'research affiliates' to the OIS, thereby providing them with access to the library's 20,000 full text journals. Even though Ptolemy is a small project it has the potential to be widely reproduced, say the authors.

Link to full BMJ article

Reference: British Medical Journal 327, 790 (2003)