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Zerhouni Template

Published May 3, 2006

[name and address]
Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni
Director National Institutes of Health
1 Center Drive, MSC 0148 (Room 126)
Bethesda, MD 20892-0148
Fax: (301) 402-2700

Dear Dr. Zerhouni:

I am writing to urge that you take prompt action to revise the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy to ensure the American public has free and timely access to the results of research funded by our tax dollars. {I am a [researcher, patient, parent of a patient, other]. Add one or two sentences about why it is important for you to have timely access to government-funded research results, accentuating that one year after publication is just too long to wait} Every year, the NIH spends billions of taxpayer dollars to fund a variety of research projects. Your agency's own estimates indicate that about 65,000 articles published each year are the result of research funded by the NIH. Given this significant investment of public funds, we deserve to have free, timely, and complete access to these articles and should not have to pay $30 or more for the privilege of viewing a single article. [If appropriate, perhaps add a line about other expenses, like medical treatment, tuition, etc.] While I greatly appreciate your leadership and pioneering spirit in being the first federal agency to develop and implement a public access policy, I urge you to make some necessary modifications. Specifically, I request that you amend the policy to: Require that all NIH-funded research be made publicly available in NIH’s PubMed Central (PMC) online archive. The current policy is voluntary and, as a result, only a tiny fraction of NIH research is available in PMC. Require that all NIH-funded research articles be publicly accessible no later than six months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal. As a medical researcher, I know you appreciate the dynamic pace of scientific discovery and understand that, to [a patient (or a parent of patient)], even six months is an eternity to have to wait to receive news of a potential new treatment or intervention. By making these changes, you will help ensure that the NIH public access policy will be a model for not only other U.S. agencies, but other nations and scientific bodies as well. Such a legacy will dramatically enhance the way the world communicates scientific discovery and ensure a greater return on investment of every research dollar spent.

Thank you for taking the time to consider this important request.

Sincerely, Your name

cc: [your state's senator - see www.senate.gov] [your state's senator] [ your representative - see www.house.gov]

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