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Open Access Commentary

Biomedical journals and databases in Russia and Russian language in the former Soviet Union and beyond

Vasiliy V Vlassov1* and Kirill D Danishevskiy2

Author Affiliations

1 Dep. Research Methodology, Moscow Medical Academy, Moscow 110000 M. Trubetskaia 7, Russia

2 Society of Evidence-Based Medicine Specialists, Russia

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Emerging Themes in Epidemiology 2008, 5:15  doi:10.1186/1742-7622-5-15

Published: 30 September 2008

Abstract

In the 20th century, Russian biomedical science experienced a decline from the blossom of the early years to a drastic state. Through the first decades of the USSR, it was transformed to suit the ideological requirements of a totalitarian state and biased directives of communist leaders. Later, depressing economic conditions and isolation from the international research community further impeded its development. Contemporary Russia has inherited a system of medical education quite different from the west as well as counterproductive regulations for the allocation of research funding. The methodology of medical and epidemiological research in Russia is largely outdated. Epidemiology continues to focus on infectious disease and results of the best studies tend to be published in international periodicals. MEDLINE continues to be the best database to search for Russian biomedical publications, despite only a small proportion being indexed. The database of the Moscow Central Medical Library is the largest national database of medical periodicals, but does not provide abstracts and full subject heading codes, and it does not cover even the entire collection of the Library. New databases and catalogs (e.g. Panteleimon) that have appeared recently are incomplete and do not enable effective searching.