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3rd Anniversary of the NIH Public Access Policy: Call for Stories

Published Mar 10, 2011

It's hard to believe, but April 7, 2011 will mark the 3rd Anniversary of the implementation of the policy opening up access to articles reporting on the results of NIH-funded research. The policy has shown tremendous signs of success. PubMed Central now contains more than 2 million full text articles reporting on the latest NIH-funded research, and nearly a *half a million* individuals access these articles each day.

With this new wealth of information now available, we'd like to know what *your* experience has been with it. Specifically, we'd like to hear: 

  1. How have you been using the database?
  2. Have you used the articles to help inform yourself  about new developments in a specific area?
  3. Has the availability of these articles through PubMed Central helped you advance your research in ways that would not have occurred if they were not available?
  4. Have articles that you have authored appeared in PubMed Central as a result of the policy?
  5. Have you been contacted by other researchers who have found your work in the database, or vice versa?
  6. Have you taken any of the articles to your doctor or other health care provider?
  7. Has your healthcare provider used this database as a resource? (if you don't know, please ask her/him!)
  8. Has the availability of the articles in PMC had an impact on how you (or anyone in your community) manage your health care?

We've heard from people who have used the latest research in various ways, and the stories are extremely powerful.  If you have one, please share it! It will help us to not only ensure that PubMed Central remains open as an important public resource, but also to make the case to open up additional publicly funded databasesfrom HHS and other federal agencies as well. 

Please send any feedback/stories directly to me at: heather [at] arl [dot] org.

As always, thank you for continued dedication to ensuring that taxpayers have full, unrestricted accessto the results of research that our tax dollars pay for.


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

Richard Esguerra
Mar 11, 2011 5:17pm [ 1 ]

Note that the web form below is to be used for comments to this article and not necessarily for submitting a story.

charles roemer
Mar 12, 2011 7:48am [ 2 ]

I have stage 4 cancer. I have been using PUBMED since I was diagnosed to learn more about the disease. PUBMED has helped me better understand the treatment plan prescribed by my doctors and it has also allowed me to feel like I had more control of my fate.

One of the most recent articles I reviewed helped me understand how I can better prepare for the final days of the cancer. These are questions I have had difficulty asking my doctor: but after reading the material I was able to bring it up at my last visit.

I hope PUB MED continues to be a public resource.

Mar 13, 2011 11:01am [ 3 ]

As a research scientist working in a cancer lab, as a son who has a father stricken with multiple health problems looking for information or clarifications, and as a citizen trying many times to verify or clarify a news article I may have read.. I access pubmed nearly on a daily bases.

Kurtis Frank
Mar 13, 2011 9:26pm [ 4 ]

My experiences have been amazing with public access to the NIH database. For four years now I have been studying human nutrition and physiology (a field in which there is many unsubstantiated rumors and anecdotes) and public access to NIH has been a godsend for me.

I have university access at the moment, but merely being able to see NIH abstracts before fueled me to learn more and to learn how studies were made and conducted to better learn some terminology (such as significance or the P value of many statistics).

I now have my own website about human nutrition and physiology. I like to study things that go against the grain and current recommendations, for this I need a heavy dose of creativity and access to real science. I visit the database at everyday, and each day I am thankful for this access.

Merely knowing that one can access such a database of knowledge fuels one to access it, and through this desire to learn I have helped hundreds (possibly thousands) of people through my website and other internet forums such as improve their lives.

Justin Muir
Mar 14, 2011 11:45am [ 5 ]

As a pharmacist, I use PubMed a lot to find clinical trials and review articles relevant to my practice. It's been especially helpful when I am away from work and don't have as much access to primary literature. I also use PubMed for personal research, specifically regarding diet/exercise information which helps me make decisions and changes to improve my health and the health of my family. This is definitely an invaluable resource.

john rossman
Mar 14, 2011 12:02pm [ 6 ]

I am a radiological physics graduate student and I find pubmed to be vital for my research. Constantly running into articles where I can't read or I have to pay $30 would snowball into a large expense. This is why I feel pubmed must be funded.

Thank you.

Mar 14, 2011 1:44pm [ 7 ]

As a librarian at a small rural hospital, we rely on Pubmed and Pubmed Central every day to round our our limited journal collection. Electronic journal prices have soared in recent years. PubMed, Pubmed Central, and the journals opened up by the NIH Public Access Policy are more important then ever before.

Beyond Pubmed's central role for supplementing meager library funds, our health professionals turn to Pubmed first because it is the best. Pubmed offers a clear demonstration of the excellence that can be achieved through publicly-funded research.

Please note that I have omitted my hospital's name on purpose. My employer has a strict policy against using the hospital name without explicit permission from our public relations department.

Mar 28, 2011 2:11pm [ 8 ]

As a librarian, the expansion of this policy is of critical importance. Our faculty and students are part of that almost 500,000 people who access PubMed daily for course work and for research. I have just send an email, as requested and will continue to support any expansion of this policy. Ultimately, I would like this policy to be expanded throughout our government agencies, not just HHS. This is particularly important in light of the latest development in government publishing (or should I say non-development), which is to cancel the production of the Statistical Abstract. No doubt someone will pick this up and then charge us for the end result. The NIH policy is the opposite of this growing trend--an attempt to expand public access to information. Thanks to all those who take action on this effort.

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