Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Time to contact the Senate

An alert from the Alliance for Taxpayer Access:

As the Senate considers Appropriations measures for the 2008 fiscal year this fall, please take a moment to remind your Senators of your strong support for public access to publicly funded research and ­ specifically ­ ensuring the success of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy by making deposit mandatory for researchers.

Earlier this summer, the House of Representatives passed legislation with language that directs the NIH to make this change.  The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a similar measure.  Now, as the Appropriations process moves forward, it is critically important that our Senators are reminded of the breadth and depth of support for enhanced public access to the results of NIH-funded research. Please take a moment to weigh in with your Senator now.

Contact information for your Senator is included below. Please fax a letter with your support **no later than Friday, September 28, 2007**.

Feel free to draw upon the following talking points:

  • American taxpayers are entitled to open access on the Internet to the peer-reviewed scientific articles on research funded by the U.S. government. Widespread access to the information contained in these articles is an essential, inseparable component of our nation's investment in science.
  • The Fiscal Year 2008 Labor/HHS Appropriations Bill reported out of committee contains language directing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to change its Public Access Policy so that it requires NIH-funded researchers to deposit copies of agency-funded research articles into the National Library of Medicine's online archive.
  • Over the more than two years since its implementation, the NIH's current voluntary policy has failed to achieve any of the agency's stated goals, attaining a deposit rate of less than 5% by individual researchers. A mandate is required to ensure deposit in NIH's online archive of articles describing findings of all research funded by the agency.
  • We urge the Senate to support the inclusion of language put forth in the Labor/HHS Appropriations bill directing the NIH to implement a mandatory policy and ensuring free, timely access to all research articles stemming from NIH-funded research ­ without change ­ in any appropriate vehicle.

(We'll be making additional resources for patient advocates ­ including the recording of our August 30 Web cast and specific talking points ­ available shortly as well. Watch the ATA Web site or email me directly for updates.)

Again, please take a moment to express your support for public access to research to your Senator as soon as possible and no later than September 28. As always, we'd appreciate it if you'd let us know of what action you're able to take, or send a copy your letter to the ATA through (202) 872-0884 (fax). Thank you!


Update. To make it easier to contact your Senators, use the web form set up by the ALA and the message put together by Charles Bailey. More details here.