Congressional Panel Favors Access to Publicly Funded Research (fwd)

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2007 21:14:41 +0100

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2007 14:10:45 -0500
From: Jennifer McLennan <jennifer -->
To: harnad --
Subject: Congressional Panel Favors Access to Publicly Funded Research

Alliance for Taxpayer Access

For immediate release
June 28, 2007

Jennifer McLennan
jennifer [at] arl [dot] org
(202) 296-2296 ext. 121


Washington, D.C. - June 28, 2007 - Public access to NIH-funded research
took a major step forward this week with Senate Appropriations Committee
agreement to direct the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to require
that its funded research be made publicly available on the Internet.

This milestone was immediately praised by the Alliance for Taxpayer
Access (ATA), a coalition of patient groups, researchers, consumers,
and libraries that has long called for such a step.

"The momentum is real and Congress understands the public's interest,"
said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC (the Scholarly
Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, an ATA founding member). "We
congratulate Senators Tom Harkin and Arlen Specter for their bipartisan
leadership on this issue."

"It is significant that Senate appropriators are determined to
leverage the taxpayer investment in research by ensuring it can be
broadly applied," added Joseph. "Two years after the well-intentioned
voluntary NIH policy was introduced, too many researchers, students,
small businesses, and people facing diseases still lack access to the
publicly funded research they want and need. This is a big step in the
right direction."

The Senate's 2008 appropriations bill specifically requires that
NIH-funded researchers deposit in the National Library of Medicine's
online archive an electronic copy of their peer-reviewed manuscripts upon
acceptance for publication in a journal. Articles would become publicly
available no later than 12 months after publication.

"Action by our Senators in supporting this change is especially welcomed
by the patient community," said Colleen Zak, Executive Director of the
Autosomal Recessive Polycystic Kidney Disease and Congenital Hepatic
Fibrosis (ARPKD/CHF) Alliance. "Delivering on the NIH public access
policy will create anticipated opportunities for accelerating research
and finding cures."

Under the current NIH Public Access Policy, implemented in May 2005,
investigators have deposited less than five percent of eligible
manuscripts and, although a few publishers have also deposited articles
stemming from NIH-funded research, the vast majority is not yet publicly

Congress has expressed concern about the voluntary policy's failure to
meet its goals. However, this is the first time the Senate committee has
proposed legislative action to correct the situation. The Senate measure
is similar to one recently put forth by the House of Representatives
Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee.

The FY08 Senate Appropriations Bill is expected to go before the full
Senate for a vote later this summer. The House Labor/HHS Appropriations
measure will be considered by the full House Appropriations Committee
in July.

# # #

The Alliance for Taxpayer Access is a coalition of patient, academic,
research, and publishing organizations that support open public access
to the results of federally funded research. The Alliance was formed in
2004 to urge that peer-reviewed articles stemming from taxpayer-funded
research become fully accessible and available online at no extra
cost to the American public. Details on the ATA may be found at


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