WASHINGTON - NIH Director Harold Varmus has reworked his proposal for a vast free repository of biomedical research on the Internet. But the plan still leaves open the potential for companies and researchers to use the system to disseminate extensive information about clinical trials to physicians, patients and the financial community.

Varmus last week announced that the electronic distribution system - now dubbed PubMed Central - will be launched by next January. Access still will be free, but the data set will be expanded to include the life sciences in general, including plant and agricultural research as well as biology