The Scientific Activist

Via A Blog Around the Clock comes news that the Senate will be voting on mandatory public access to NIH research later this month (on September 28, apparently). Such a bill has already passed the House (in July 2007). The Alliance for Taxpayer Access is urging citizens to contact their Senators in support of this legislation. Check out the site for more information and for Senator contact information.

The Alliance for Taxpayer Access offers these talking points:

  • American taxpayers are entitled to open access on the Internet to the peer-reviewed scientific articles on research funded by the U.S. government. Widespread access to the information contained in these articles is an essential, inseparable component of our nation’s investment in science.
  • The Fiscal Year 2008 Labor/HHS Appropriations Bill reported out of committee contains language directing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to change its Public Access Policy so that it requires NIH-funded researchers to deposit copies of agency-funded research articles into the National Library of Medicine’s online archive.
  • Over the more than two years since its implementation, the NIH’s current voluntary policy has failed to achieve any of the agency’s stated goals, attaining a deposit rate of less than 5% by individual researchers. A mandate is required to ensure deposit in NIH’s online archive of articles describing findings of all research funded by the agency.
  • We urge the Senate to support the inclusion of language put forth in the Labor/HHS Appropriations bill directing the NIH to implement a mandatory policy and ensuring free, timely access to all research articles stemming from NIH-funded research – without change – in any appropriate vehicle.