As a business related to pharmaceutical information, the Organization for Pharmaceutical Safety and Research (a Japanese semigovernmental organization authorized by the Minister of Health and Welfare) provides two major services. One is a pharmaceutical consultation service for telephone inquiries (answered by pharmacists) from ordinary consumers about pharmaceutical safety and efficacy, and the other is an on-line retrieval service for pharmaceutical information on package inserts, adverse reactions, safety, recalls, and new drug approvals. We feel that information receivers such as consumers and patients seek the assurance of safety through these services. From among the wide variety of information available on pharmaceuticals, they seek the reliable information they need through an assurance of accuracy. The most important aspect of providing this information is a relationship of mutual trust between providers and receivers. The providers should supply high-quality information corresponding to consumer needs that is both reliable and useful.
Many trends are evolving in the field of scientific research, as electronic journals have become “the essential”. These trends include the increase of electronic journal sites, the expansion of reference linking, and the establishment of organizations that support academic societies and small publishers. Preprint servers, archiving, virtual journals, fast publishing, and alert services are also developing very rapidly. Links are created among electronic journal sites and bibliographic databases by the exchange of article metadata. J-STAGE is an electronic journal aggregator site operated by JST (Japan Science and Technology Corporation). It supports academic publishers in Japan and is discussed here in detail with examples.
Effective search strategies for Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT) in a Japanese medical database are investigated by the application of a relevance-feedback information retrieval model. A training set and four test sets were prepared from the bibliographic references in JMEDICINE. The references in two of the test sets were taken from the same journal the training set was taken from and the other two from different journals. Precision values assigned to the terms in title, abstract and subject index fields in the training set were used to construct probabilistic and Boolean search strategies. For the same-journal test sets, both strategies were well performed with the title and subject index fields but neither search of the different-journal test sets worked well. The reasons are discussed, and the measures to make RCT searches more effective are proposed in terms of searching, indexing, and making abstracts.