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Talking points and contact information for letters to HHS Secretary Sebelius

Published Mar 25, 2011

The following talking points are for use in conjunction with the call to action issued March 25, 2011. As always, please adapt and expand as needed to suit your unique voice.

  • 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 Department of Health & Human Services’ (HHS) agencies.
  • 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 – highlighting the demand for this important layer of information.
  •  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 HHS 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 HHS-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.



The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius

Secretary of Health and Human Services

Office of the Secretary, United States Department of Health and Human Services

Hubert H. Humphrey Building

200 Independence Avenue, SW, Room 120F

Washington, DC 20201                 

Email: kathleen.sebelius@hhs.gov

Fax: 202-690-7203 

cc: Thomas Frieden, M.D., M.P.H, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HHS 


      Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., Director, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, HHS


      Margaret Hamburg, M.D., Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration, HHS



2 comment(s) on this page. Add your own comment below.

Mar 27, 2011 9:03am [ 1 ]

I strongly urge extending the NIH Public Access Policy to all federal funding agencies (as proposed in the FRPAA and OSTP).

I also suggest updating the policy so that it encourages and facilitates the adoption and implementation of complementary public access policies by universities and research institutions by specifying that the public access requirement can be fulfilled by depositing locally, in the fundee's own institutional open access repository.

Not all research is federally funded, but virtually all federal fundees are institutionally affiliated, and most universities and research institutions already have institutional open access repositories (http://roar.eprints.org).

An increasing number of universities and research institutions are also contemplating adopting an open access policy (as Harvard, MIT, and over a hundred other universities worldwide have done): http://roarmap.eprints.org).

The goal is global open access to research findings, and it is especially important now that policies should be designed to collaborate and reinforce one another, rather than to compete.

It should only be necessary for an author to deposit once, and the simplest and most natural solution is to deposit institutionally and then harvest centrally (and automatically) to PubMed Central and any other desired central search site.

See: "How to Integrate University and Funder Open Access Mandates" http://openaccess.eprints.org/index.php?/archives/369-guid.html

and http://bit.ly/ostp-frpaa

Susan Strauss
Apr 8, 2011 10:42am [ 2 ]

As the family member of a Long QT child whose father died in his sleep from SADS, I strongly encourage the public access of information from NIH and other research institutions. It is very important that families and volunteers have the latest research and medical information to accurately inform the communities, schools, coaches, and volunteers. Information saves lives.

Thank you,

Susan Strauss

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