April 7th, 2011 will mark the third anniversary of the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) highly successful Public Access Policy.
It’s the first U.S. policy to ensure that members of the public – including [the groups you believe benefit from access] – have guaranteed, free, online access to articles reporting on the results of research that their tax dollars support.
On behalf of [describe your organization], we ask that you consider immediately expanding the NIH Public Access Policy to all other departments and agencies with extramural research budgets of $100 million or more.
Doing so will further enhance the value of the public’s annual $60 billion investment in scientific research.
[Why public access is important to your organization and how you have benefited from the success of the NIH policy]
The NIH policy simply requires that researchers who are funded by the NIH submit a copy of all final peer-reviewed article manuscripts that report on their research to the agency’s digital archive, PubMed Central (PMC).
PMC contains more than two million full text articles, which are accessed by nearly half a million users every day from all sectors of the public.
With more than 75% of PMC users coming from outside of the higher education domain, the value of these articles to our nation’s innovators, entrepreneurs, and business owners is clearly demonstrated.
At a time when our economic growth depends heavily on innovation in science, the information reported in these articles provides crucial fuel to spur innovation, the development of new products and services, and job growth in the biotechnology sector and beyond.
Just as critically, the full-text digital articles now contained in PubMed Central are linked to a wide array of other publicly accessible databases at the NIH, facilitating the ability to move seamlessly between articles and data, and apply new and cutting-edge computational tools and techniques to the entire collection of NIH-funded research results.
The expansion of the NIH policy to other federal agencies will open up connections to additional crucial resources that our nation’s scientists require to carry out truly comprehensive biomedical research in this digital age.
Requiring public access to articles reporting on the results of federally funded research results will also ensure that all members of the public have fast and fair access to the results of the research that their tax dollars support – and for which the success of the NIH policy demonstrates a deep demand.
Thanks and invitation to discuss further.
Assistant to the President for Science and Technology
Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President