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I recently got a request for an article I'm a coauthor on, which reads:

Dear Dr. NAME REMOVED:

My name is Victoria Hornos and I am contacting you on behalf of the Central Library of Medicine Foundation. Dr. SANTIAGO ATEHORTUA has contacted us asking for a reprint that you wrote. He is a Terapia Intensiva and Dr. is in need of your article as Dr. is making a research on this subjet .

JOURNAL NAME 2013;XX(YY):ZZZZ-ZZ On the Reasons Why This Is Clearly A Paper That Needs To Be Read, Cited, And Manifest Itself In Fame And Fortune For the Authors.

If my request is possible, please send it to the following e-mail address or by fax so I can send him or another doctor on the same situation the article.

Thanks very much in advance for your response.

E-mail: victoria.hornos@fbcm.md Fax: (+34 91) 133 30 81 Post Address: B1638 CAA Central Library of Medicine Foundation. Zufriategui 627 8º (D4D7) - Vicente Lopez Buenos Aires Argentina

Sincerely yours, Victoria Hornos

I'm not really clear on the legality of this request. I know many people are fine with sending PDFs to particular people, but this sounds like sending it to a clearing house, and that makes me a little nervous. Beyond that, I'm not the corresponding author, 'fbcm.md' doesn't resolve to a webpage, and well...this feels like many, many scam journal requests, but this time as a paper request.

Has anyone encountered this? Thoughts?

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    I received a request last week from Ms Hornos asking for an article that I had no idea I authored. Then I found out from PubMed one of the authors of this article has a similar name as mine.
    – user9654
    Nov 25 '13 at 8:11
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After googling for the Central Library of Medicine Foundation, I found the following post on the University of Muenster site (note I used Google Translate to translate the piece from German to English):

Recently, faculty members have received many article requests from a "Central Library of Medicine Foundation", which was apparently acting on behalf of South American doctors.

While researchers are usually happy to accommodate private, direct inquiries from colleagues, there is naturally some skepticism, since we do not know if this service costs the requesting physician or how much the "Central Library of Medicine Foundation" receives.

After some inquiries with South American and Spanish-speaking colleagues the following picture emerges: the website www.rima.org (The "Central Library of Medicine Foundation" aka "Fundación Biblioteca Central de Medicina" aka "Red Informática de Medicina Avanzada" (RIMA)) is a non-library organization based in Buenos Aires that offers physicians and researchers to get an article for a given fee (the exact amount is unknown). RIMA neither buys the article from the publisher nor copies it from a local library (which presumably cannot afford journals), but services the requests by directly forwarding them to the authors, in many cases, Münster faculty members. This probably the name "Central Library of Medicine Foundation" is used to simulate the unselfish non-profit library.

Everyone must of course know how to handle it themselves. To send a reprint by email costs only a push of a button and it helps indeed ultimately a colleague who is certainly not as well supplied with magazines as oneself. On the other hand, you will be benefiting a commercial (?) intermediary organization, which may not help you, either. But maybe it is just a clever business idea of 10 unemployed Argentine doctors, to help them earn a living. . . .

So it seems that this Central Library of Medicine Foundation is a business that charges a fee to its clients for obtaining a paper, via you. Although this is probably not really legal or moral, this fee is probably lower than what, say, Elsevier is asking for the same paper. I think this situation makes a good argument for open-access journals.

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    I appreciate the translation work :)
    – Fomite
    Sep 26 '13 at 13:49
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    Thank you for this answer. I recently received the same request and was baffled as my paper is freely available within the BMC Medical Research Methodology journal. I suspect the request was auto-generated and doesn't differentiate between open access and commercial publisher sources.
    – user9036
    Oct 17 '13 at 1:46
  • "After some inquiries with South American and Spanish-speaking colleagues the following picture:" A missing "emerged" at the end, perhaps? May 10 '14 at 19:21
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    I've cleaned up the Google translation to make it sound like actual English.
    – aeismail
    Dec 31 '14 at 17:35
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Received a similar solicitation from the same person. She says she is in Argentina, the country code to her phone number is for Spain, and the webpage is a Moldova domain.

This all seems a bit dodgy.

I'd prefer to help colleagues out as much as possible...I certainly have no problem sending a PDF to an individual upon request. But this seems to be a (possibly for-profit) enterprise and I'm certain it would violate the copyright of the publisher.

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I just received a similar request, but this time it was from a person named "Silvia Alderico" at the same institution as above. This whole enterprise does not seem legitimate. Normally, a researcher contacts you directly and asks for the paper, or their institution pays for the paper directly. If you have a desire to fill the request legally, most journals allow you to post a version of your paper: usually the final version you submitted to the journal that was accepted for publication (double-spaced word document or PDF, with figures and tables at the end).

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The Central Library of Medicine Foundation is a legally supported organization

The Central Library of Medicine Foundation (CLMF) is an institution of public good with transparent proceedings and a non-profit foundation. It was founded in the last century. The CLMF has developed multiple systems to assist health professionals in clinical decision-making based on best available medical evidence. All its services are free of charge. Our institution is independent from Governmental and political interests as well as from commercial interests of the pharmaceutical industry. It is supported by donations and sponsorships of private companies from Argentina as well as other countries. All members of the Foundation's advisory board, of which I am the general director, are unpaid honorary positions. The Foundation purchases from publishers a large quantity of subscriptions to the best journals in each specialty and a limited number of copies of articles from these journals are provided to medical investigators by request. In a few exceptional instances, when a physician asks for a reprint that we don't have in our library, the CLMF contacts the authors directly for a copy and then forwards it to the requesting doctor at no cost. This service does not have any profit-making or commercial purpose. Additionally, as a proof of our transparent procedures, our institutional data such as the name of the foundation and the postal and email address are always included in the request letters submitted to authors.

Under no circumstances a reprint sent to us by an author is reproduced or distributed in any way on a larger scale and in no way do we profit from this occasional service. In the same way, it is also important to note that the above mentioned procedure of reprint request to authors is really unusual and of little significance compared to the rest of the CLMF services and activities aimed at promoting continuing professional development.

The Central Library of Medicine Foundation is supported by the most recognized scientific societies of Argentina as well as the Pan American Health Organization, regional office of the World Health Organization (WHO).

We´ve created the “RIMA Award for Excellence in the Medical Scientific Update" to recognize the work of the doctors that keep updated and to improve the quality of their clinical practice.

Among the numerous awards and honors received by the Foundation for its work to support the Continuing Professional Development, is the "Sadosky Award for Argentine intelligence " given by the president of the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET) of Argentina. Rather than being a group of unemployed doctors who makes profit by commercializing copies of medical articles, we are an organization, which expends considerable efforts to meet the continuing professional development physicians’ requirements, despite our limited economic resources. We believe that it would have been more appropriate to contact us to clarify any question before posting comments that could jeopardize our institutional reputation and public image without any real foundation. Our organizational culture is centered around strong values such as innovation, respect, honesty, excellence and independence. We are very proud of what we do to contribute to a better quality of patient care.

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    Could you provide some references besides your own self-assertion?
    – jakebeal
    Dec 30 '14 at 18:02
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    I have to agree with @jakebeal... without any external links from the source agencies you list supporting your assertions, this reads very much like a self-promotion post.
    – eykanal
    Dec 30 '14 at 18:11
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    [needs citation] Cannot evaluate objectively without them.
    – Compass
    Dec 30 '14 at 18:31
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    While this provides a partial answer as to what CLMF is, it does not really answer, what to me is the critical issue, of how it can be legal for authors to send a personal reprint of a non open access article to a foundation like CLMF.
    – StrongBad
    Dec 30 '14 at 18:49
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    I do not see any comments that could be considered as jeopardising your institutional reputation. Please flag any comments you think are in appropriate and we will take a closer look. I have also alerted a member of the SE team, but feel free to contact them yourself with the contact us link at the bottom of the page.
    – StrongBad
    Dec 30 '14 at 19:02

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