Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Press Release from the Alliance for Taxpayer Access

For immediate release
October 24, 2007

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


Full U.S. Senate Approves Bill Containing Support for Access To
Taxpayer-Funded Research

Washington, D.C. ­ October 24, 2007 - The U.S. Senate last night approved
the FY2008 Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Bill (S.1710), including
a provision that directs the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to
strengthen its Public Access Policy by requiring rather than requesting
participation by researchers. The bill will now be reconciled with the House
Appropriations Bill, which contains a similar provision, in another step
toward support for public access to publicly funded research becoming United
States law.

³Last night¹s Senate action is a milestone victory for public access to
taxpayer-funded research,² said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC
(the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, a founding
member of the ATA). ³This policy sets the stage for researchers, patients,
and the general public to benefit in new and important ways from our
collective investment in the critical biomedical research conducted by the

Under a mandatory policy, NIH-funded researchers will be required to deposit
copies of eligible manuscripts into the National Library of Medicine¹s
online database, PubMed Central. Articles will be made publicly available no
later than 12 months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

The current NIH Public Access Policy, first implemented in 2005, is a
voluntary measure and has resulted in a de deposit rate of less than 5% by
individual investigators. The advance to a mandatory policy is the result of
more than two years of monitoring and evaluation by the NIH, Congress, and
the community.

³We thank our Senators for taking action on this important issue,² said Pat
Furlong, Founding President and CEO of Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy.
³This level of access to NIH-funded research will impact the disease process
in novel ways, improving the ability of scientists to advance therapies and
enabling patients and their advocates to participate more effectively. The
advance is timely, much-needed, and ­ we anticipate ­ an indication of
increasingly enhanced access in future.²

³American businesses will benefit tremendously from improved access to NIH
research,² said William Kovacs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce vice president for
environment, technology and regulatory affairs. ³The Chamber encourages the
free and timely dissemination of scientific knowledge produced by the NIH as
it will improve both the public and industry¹s ability to become better
informed on developments that impact them ­ and on opportunities for
innovation.² The Chamber is the world¹s largest business federation,
representing more than three million businesses of every size, sector, and

³We welcome the NIH policy being made mandatory and thank Congress for
backing this important step,² said Gary Ward, Treasurer of the American
Society for Cell Biology (ASCB). ³Free and timely public access to
scientific literature is necessary to ensure that new discoveries are made
as quickly as feasible. It¹s the right thing to do, given that taxpayers
fund this research.² The ASCB represents 11,000 members and publishes the
highly ranked peer-reviewed journal, Molecular Biology of the Cell.

Joseph added, ³On behalf of the taxpayers, patients, researchers, students,
libraries, universities, and businesses that pressed this bill forward with
their support over the past two years, the ATA thanks Congress for throwing
its weight behind the success of taxpayer access to taxpayer-funded

Negotiators from the House and Senate are expected to meet to reconcile
their respective bills this fall. The final, consolidated bill will have to
pass the House and the Senate before being delivered to the President at the
end of the year.

The Alliance for Taxpayer Access is a coalition of patient, academic,
research, and publishing organizations that supports 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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