Category: Industry News

How Can the Rubicon Foundation Benefit You?

Submitted by: Rubicon Foundation
Released on: Apr 22, 2008

Need some specific scientific information on a certain dive topic - say, nitrox diving? What about general information on diving history or Navy studies in decompression illness?

Your answer is at

The Rubicon Foundation Inc. is working to establish a research repository that makes dive medical documents more accessible. This resource is free to all users. It’s up and running, and more data is being added each week.

“It’s a work in progress,” noted Gene Hobbs, researcher and certified hyperbaric technician at DukeUniversityMedicalCenter, who has been involved from the project’s outset.

How and Why It’s Being Done

Thus far, the work has been completed by volunteers, but the project is growing, Hobbs noted. Hobbs and other volunteers have been scanning thousands of dive research documents for inclusion in the Rubicon database in their spare time. And apparently doing a heck of a good job at it. By the end of April, Rubicon will have 6,000 documents in its repository, available to all divers and dive researchers.

The work began in 2002, when the Office of Naval Research asked UHMS to assist in analyzing the Navys 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 UHMS annual meeting, Dr. Javier Garcia-Covarrubias of the University of Miami and Jackson Memorial Hospital division of cardiothoracic surgery, and Dr. Keith Van Meter, chief, section of emergency medicine of the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, published an abstract concluding that the UHMS abstract-to-publication rate is lower when compared with other medical fields.

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. 

Information Pools

The most-quoted literature searches include PubMed/MEDLINE and the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) 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 DukeUniversity to index the UHMS library holdings, they have located unindexed technical reports from the Naval Experimental Diving Unit (NEDU) and Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC) 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:

• Undersea Biomedical Research (1974 to 1992), in collaboration with GUE; 
• 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); 
• Journal of Hyperbaric Medicine (1986 to 1992); and

• SPUMS Journal.

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:

AmericanAcademyof 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 theDefence 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)


Thus far, this effort has been supported by DukeUniversityMedicalCenter, the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Global Underwater Explorers, Navy Experimental Diving Unit, South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society and Divers Alert Network.

The Foundation is requesting your support as well. While these early efforts have given the project needed help for the launch of the repository, Rubicon requires additional staff. 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. 

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For more information on free online resources, go to