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Taxpayer Advocacy Group Lauds Call by NIH Advisory Panel for Mandatory Public Access to Research

Published Nov 22, 2005

For Immediate Release

November 22, 2005

Contact: Jennifer Heffelfinger
jennifer@arl.org

TAXPAYER ADVOCACY GROUP LAUDS
CALL BY NIH ADVISORY PANEL
FOR MANDATORY PUBLIC ACCESS
TO RESEARCH

Majority of NIH Public Access Working Group members also support free availability of NIH-funded research papers within six months of publication

Washington, DC - The Alliance for Taxpayer Access, a national coalition of over 60 library, non-profit, and patient advocacy groups, today praised the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Working Group (PAWG) for recommending that researchers be required to deposit published articles resulting from NIH funding in PubMed Central (PMC), NIH’s online database of journal literature.

At a November 15 meeting of the working group, a majority of members also called for articles to be freely available in PMC within six months of their publication in a journal. The current NIH policy is voluntary for funding recipients and allows access to be delayed for up to one year.

Data presented to the working group indicates that less than five percent of eligible papers are being deposited in PMC. The Public Access Working Group’s recommendation is considered significant because of Congressional concern that the current policy has failed to achieve the goals set out by the policy. This past summer, the House and Senate called on NIH to report on the policy’s progress by early 2006.

The Public Access Working Group, which reports to the Board of Regents of NIH’s National Library of Medicine, includes publishers, societies, researchers, patient groups, and libraries. It was convened by NIH last May to inform the implementation of its Public Access Policy (http://publicaccess.nih.gov).

Heather Joseph, executive director of SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), says "We are pleased that the Public Access Working Group has pointed the way for NIH to achieve its goals of archiving NIH research, advancing science, and providing taxpayers with access to research." SPARC is a founding member and administrator of the Alliance for Taxpayer Access.

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More information:

  • A news report on the November 15 NIH Public Access Working Group meeting, "NIH Public Access Policy Should be Mandatory, Advisors Recommend," appeared in Health News Daily (November 17, 2005).
  • A list of the Public Access Group Working members is at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/od/bor/workgroup_roster.html.

The Alliance for TaxpayerAccess is a coalition of stakeholders who support reforms that will make publicly funded research accessible to the public. Formed in 2004, the Alliance played a leading role in the drive for free access on the Internet to peer-reviewed articles funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. It is administered on behalf of Alliance members by SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition). Information on the Alliance may be found at www.taxpayeraccess.org. Alliance members are listed at www.taxpayeraccess.org/membership/index.shtml

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