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PubMed is a medical research database hosted by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a United States government entity responsible for funding and publishing medical research. Since its launch in 1996, PubMed has grown to contain over 30 million research citations, many of which are freely available to read online.
The NLM provides several freely available APIs that developers can use to access information about items in PubMed. Functionality varies, but most allow developers to search the database in some way and retrieve information about published articles or the text of the articles themselves.
APIs give “client” programs access to the data provided by a “host” program by means of calls or requests formatted as URLs.
When PubMed is the host program, developers can use an API to request information about medical articles and even perform text mining operations on the full text of published medical research. After receiving the data they requested, client programs can then display it or use it in local functions.
Because PubMed contains a vast amount of medical information, using an API to search it allows to data about recent publications in a specific medical field.
For example, a web developer could provide users with a plugin that highlights complicated medical terms and links them to existing research in PubMed. The developer of a grant writing application could allow its users to quickly see the numbers of published articles on topics in PubMed within the last five years, potentially guiding them in the selection of topics for their own research.
PubMed’s medical research is unparalleled. Any developer who needs medical research funded by the US government will benefit from API access to the PubMed database.
The PubMed developer website lists Official APIs that are free for use by the public. These APIs don’t require a key, but developers should specify the name of the tool using the API and their email in all requests. The NLM also requests that client programs not make multiple requests of PubMed at the same time.
All PubMed APIs are supported and made available in multiple developer programming languages and SDKs including:
Just select your preference from any API endpoints page.
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