Mayo Clinic, as one example, has an online guide to diseases and conditions curated by qualified medical editors.

Clearly, the Mayo material is copyrighted and is not open source.

Is there any similar type of medical-related reference that is open source, though?

  • Wikipedia is a good one
    – Kenshin
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 23:10
  • 1
    I think you fundamentally misunderstand copyright law and confuse it with licensing. All written works are protected by copyright the minute they're written. There is no action the author has to take to own the copyright to what they've written. There is an action they have to take to make their work public domain or some variety of open source licensing. This isn't a medical sciences question.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Feb 13, 2019 at 6:16
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's not about medical science as defined in the help center.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Feb 13, 2019 at 6:17
  • I don't think is off topic. We have an informatics tag and this is part of medicine.
    – userJT
    Commented May 29, 2019 at 14:53

3 Answers 3


US source Medline-Plus:


UK source:


  • 1
    It appears there may be a significant chunk of material copyrighted on the medlineplus.gov site: medlineplus.gov/copyright.html; e.g. A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia.
    – mg1075
    Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 21:16
  • 2
    As indicated before, MedlinePlus is copyrighted and to add to that, the NHS website is not strictly open source either. Its content is under Crown Copyright Commented Feb 13, 2019 at 5:41

Medline Plus, as suggested by user7947, is one of my favorite free, patient-oriented medical resources.

emedicine.medscape.com is a good source for free, physician-oriented medical resources. Some material requires registering with a free account. (Note that the regular medscape.com may have some stuff behind a paywall. I've had the most luck searching "emedicine diverticulosis" or whatever I'm interested in.)

  • 2
    Free to access does not mean "open source" as defined by the OP. Both these sites are copyright protected. Commented Feb 13, 2019 at 5:46

For anatomy, there is foundational model of anatomy. SNOMED CT is also a knowledge base. (but is it free only to member countries).

Also see ontologies are on bioportal website https://bioportal.bioontology.org/


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