Research Dive Medicine With Greater Ease

3/30/2011 3:17:34 PM
The Rubicon Foundation seeks to make research and undersea medicine documents more accessible

The Rubicon Foundation Inc. is at work on a research repository that will make available dive medical documents more accessible. And this resource is free to all users.

The Rubicon Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit organization undertaking projects that:

  • contribute to the interdependent dynamic between research, exploration, science and education;
  • improve the available resources for students, professionals and the general public; and
  • preserve the valuable natural resources that are vital to future endeavors.

Thus far, the work has been completed by volunteers, but the work is growing.

This effort has been supported by Duke University Medical Center, the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Global Underwater Explorers and Divers Alert Network.

Here's how the effort began: In 2002, the Office of Naval Research asked UHMS to assist in analyzing the Navy's research and development program in undersea medicine. The panel found that 60 percent of young researchers in the field left in less than 10 years. Many more would soon retire.

This turnover in researchers and the loss of senior scientists signified a possible loss in human knowledge. This spurred the development of ways to manage information and ensure access to resources, mainly by effective and timely methods to retrieve valuable documents.

At the 2002 annual meeting of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Dr. Javier Garcia-Covarrubias of the University of Miami / Jackson Memorial Hospital. Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Dr. Keith Van Meter, Chief, Section of Emergency Medicine of the LSU Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, published an abstract concluding that the UHMS abstract to publication rate is lower when compared with other medical fields.

According to their abstract, ". . . the overall publication rate in MEDLINE-indexed journals for 1996, 1997, and 1998 was 17.9 percent (26 of 145), 14.8 percent (27 of 182), and 18.7 percent (33 of 176), respectively."

Their work identified a real need to make data and publications available to promote communication and collaboration within the field of diving and hyperbaric medicine.

The most quoted literature searches include PubMed/MEDLINE and the Defense Technical Information Center databases. Much of the information dealing with undersea research is scattered across numerous other databases throughout the world. Some of this information is not indexed and is therefore lost except to the few who know exactly what they seek.

Since the Rubicon Foundation began collaborating with Duke University to index the UHMS library holdings, they have located unindexed technical reports from the Naval Experimental Diving Unit and Naval Medical Research Center that were sent to DTIC for indexing. Additionally, Rubicon has located eight journal articles from the Undersea Biomedical Research journal that were not indexed in PubMed/MEDLINE. Through this project, Rubicon verified current data while creating an index for many documents that are not searchable elsewhere (i.e., UHMS abstracts, theses work, etc.).

To date, Rubicon has scanned the following collections for UHMS:

  • the Undersea Baromedical Research (1974 to 1992), in collaboration with GUE;
  • the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine (1993 to present), in collaboration with GUE;
  • UHMS Workshops with support from DAN;
  • Underwater Medicine and Related Sciences supported by UHMS;
  • Hyperbaric Oxygen Review (1980 to 1985); and
  • Journal of Hyperbaric Medicine (1986 to 1992).

The UHMS Board of Directors voted to include all journal articles Rubicon scanned in the UBR, UHM and JHM collections in its repository.

Other collections include:

  • American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) workshops and meeting proceedings (1986 to 1992);
  • Professional Association of Diving Instructors/ Diving Science And Technology Corp (PADI/ DSAT) symposia and technical reports;
  • DAN’s series of Report on Decompression Illness, Diving Fatalities, and Project Dive Exploration reports (1988-2007);
  • Numerous Technical reports from groups such as the Defence R&D Canada (DRDC), NEDU, NMRC, Naval Submarine Medical Research Lab (NSMRL), Office of Naval Research (ONR) and Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine (USAF-SAM)

    Information on these collections is available on the website for the Rubicon Foundation Inc. at

    The Rubicon Foundation has more than 1,500 U.S. Navy technical documents available. Dr. Lewis Nuckols (DUMC, U.S. Navy) has also lent his collection of Naval Experimental Diving Unit (NEDU) documents from the U.S. Naval Academy for use in this project.

    This collection consists of approximately 1,000 Naval Medical reports. The Board of Directors for UHMS voted at their annual meeting to include all journal articles we scanned in the UBR, UHM, and JHM collections in the Repository. With the assistance of Dr. Nishi, Rubicon secured permission from Defence R&D Canada, formerly Defence and Civil Institute of Environmental Medicine to include their non-classified technical reports. The American Academy of Underwater Sciences Board voted in March to include their workshops and proceedings from 1985 to present. The Professional Association of Diving Instructors donated two symposia and two technical reports. These collections continue to grow.

    The Foundation needs your help. While these early efforts has given the project needed support for the launch of the repository, Rubicon requires additional staff support. Due to the value of these documents, it seeks additional financial support to ensure the timeline required for project completion. This will be used for salary support to continue the scans, metadata harvesting and import of this material into the online repository for the public to access.

    To donate, go to

    For more information on free online resources, go to or click on the PDF link below. <