November 15, 1996

Psychopharmacology archive to serve as international data center

Psychopharmacology archive to serve as international data center

A permanent archive of information on Psychopharmacology is being established at Vanderbilt University Medical Center that will serve as the international center of information in the field.

The American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) is establishing the archive with the assistance a $50,000 grant from a pharmaceutical company, which will help initiate the project and lend ongoing support to maintain and update archival holdings.

"The value of this information is incalculable," said Oakley S. Ray, Ph.D., professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at VUMC and executive secretary of the ACNP. According to Ray, the archive will house the nation's largest collection of original research documents and correspondence in the field of Psychopharmacology.

In coming months, thousands of researchers worldwide will be urged to donate their work to the archive, including photos, lab notes and correspondence, in an effort to preserve the basic data of psychopharmacology for the future.

Thousands of items relating to neurology and psychiatry will be included in the archive, which will be housed in the Eskind Biomedical Library. The archive will be available on the Internet as well.

The archive will provide a place for clinicians and researchers from across the world to house, as well as access, all available information pertaining to the history of Psychopharmacology.

Scientists will be asked to donate their work as it is completed or upon their death. These records will help others to understand why scientists take different directions when studying complex areas and developing theories.

"It is very difficult to ask someone to make a decision about something that happens when they retire or die, but when they realize how important this project is and how much it will optimize accessibility of valuable information, then it sheds new light on the act of giving," said Ray.

Randy Jones, archivist at Eskind Biomedical Library, is responsible for keeping the archive in order and providing a place for scientists to send their material.

"Medical History is an area that is rather new in respect to the other areas of historical study. It is, however, very important because, among other things, it provides insight into the assumptions and conditions medical scientests were operating under when they made advancements in biomedical science," said Jones.

As part of the alliance VUMC, the ACNP and the pharmaceutical company will work closely to generate visibility among scientists working in any field related to psychopharmacology.

"We are excited to initiate this project and expect that many of the world's leaders in this field will send their documents to VUMC," said Ray.

The ACNP, founded in 1961, is a worldwide scientific organization of more than 600 leading scientists dedicated to research and education to enhance the treatment of brain and behavioral disorders.