URGENT CALL TO ACTION: Oppose amendments disabling NIH Bill

From: Stevan Harnad <harnad_at_ecs.soton.ac.uk>
Date: Sat, 20 Oct 2007 18:17:12 +0100

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 20 Oct 2007 13:07:01 -0400
From: Jennifer McLennan <jennifer -- arl.org>
To: SPARC Open Access Forum <SPARC-OAForum -- arl.org>

URGENT CALL TO ACTION: Tell your Senator to
OPPOSE amendments that strike or change the NIH
public access provision in the FY08 Labor/HHS appropriations bill

The Senate is currently considering the FY08
Labor-HHS Bill, which includes a provision
(already approved by the House of Representatives
and the full Senate Appropriations Committee),
that directs the NIH to change its Public Access
Policy so that participation is required (rather
than requested) for researchers, and ensures
free, timely public access to articles resulting
from NIH-funded research. On Friday, Senator
Inhofe (R-OK), filed two amendments (#3416 and
#3417), which call for the language to either be
stricken from the bill, or modified in a way that
would gravely limit the policy~Rs effectiveness.

Amendment #3416 would eliminate the provision
altogether. Amendment #3417 is likely to be
presented to your Senator as a compromise that
~Sbalances~T the needs of the public and of
publishers. In reality, the current language in
the NIH public access provision accomplishes that
goal. Passage of either amendment would seriously
undermine access to this important public
resource, and damage the community~Rs ability to
advance scientific research and discovery.

Please contact your Senators TODAY and urge them
to vote ~SNO~T on amendments #3416 and #3417.
(Contact must be made before close of business on
Monday, October 22). A sample email is provided
for your use below. Feel free to personalize it,
explaining why public access is important to you
and your institution. Contact information and a
tool to email your Senator are online at
No time to write? Call the U.S. Capitol
switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to be patched through to your Senate office.

If you have written in support before, or when
you do so today, please inform the Alliance for
Taxpayer Access. Contact Jennifer McLennan
through jennifer_at_arl.org or by fax at (202) 872-0884.

Thanks for your continued efforts to support
public access at the National Institutes of Health.



Dear Senator:

On behalf of [your organization], I strongly urge
you to OPPOSE proposed Amendments #3416 and #3417
to the FY 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services
and Education Appropriations bill (S.1710). These
amendments would seriously impede public access
to taxpayer-funded biomedical research, stifling
critical advancements in lifesaving research and
scientific discovery. The current bill language
was carefully crafted to balance the needs of ALL
stakeholders, and to ensure that the American
public is able to fully realize our collective investment in science.

To ensure public access to medical research
findings, language was included in the in the FY
2008 Labor, Health and Human Services, and
Education Appropriations Bill directing the NIH
to make a much-needed improvement to its Public
Access Policy -- requiring that NIH-funded
researchers deposit their manuscripts in the
National Library of Medicine~Rs online database to
be made publicly available within one year of
publication in a peer-reviewed journal. This
change is supported by NIH Director Elias
Zerhouni, and a broad coalition of educational
institutions, scientific researchers, healthcare
practitioners, publishers, patient groups,
libraries, and student groups -- representing
millions of taxpayers seeking to advance medical research.

Amendment #3416 would eliminate this important
provision, leaving only a severely weakened,
voluntary NIH policy in place. Under the
voluntary policy (in place for more than two
years) less than 5% of individual researchers
have participated -- rendering the policy
ineffective. The language in Amendment #3417
would place even further restrictions on the
policy, ensuring that taxpayers ~V including
doctors and scientists ~V are unable to take full
advantage of this important public resource.

Supporting the current language in the FY08 LHHS
Appropriations Bill is the best way to ensure
that taxpayers~R investment in NIH-funded research
is used as effectively as
possible. Taxpayer-funded NIH research belongs
to the American public. They have paid for it, and it is for their benefit.

I urge you to join the millions of scientists,
researchers, libraries, universities, and patient
and consumer advocacy groups in supporting the
current language in the FY08 LHHS Appropriations
bill and require NIH grantees to deposit in
PubMed Central final peer-reviewed manuscripts no
later than 12 months following publication in a
peer-reviewed journal. Vote NO on Amendments #3416 and #3417.
Received on Sat Oct 20 2007 - 18:38:06 BST

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