Access to scientific literature

Scientific findings are decisive in practice. Doctors in university hospitals, other hospitals and practices are responsible for consistently providing their patients with health care based on the most current data available – in the sense of evidence-based medicine. This requires access to the relevant scientific journals and databases. Despite the success of the open access movement, the majority of current medical literature remains available to subscribers or licence holders only.

At the beginning of 2009, the Biomedical Library Committee of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences (SAMS) addressed the topic of «access to scientific literature» to improve access to scientific journals and databases. To understand the situation, it conducted a Switzerland-wide survey of non-university hospitals. The survey showed that in many hospitals only limited access to scientific literature is available and that access is highly dependent on how much the hospitals are prepared to pay for licences. All the hospitals surveyed have indicated their interest in a national solution.


Since 2012, the SAMS had thus made various literature services available to doctors at significantly reduced cost or free of charge, for example access to the Cochrane Library, UpToDate, EbM Guidelines and the Revue Médicale Suisse. Since the start of 2016, these offers have been replaced by a national licence for the Cochrane Library.



lic. phil. Valérie Clerc
Secretary General