[okfn-discuss] Fwd: First U.S. Public Access Policy Made Permanent

Jonathan Gray jonathan.gray at okfn.org
Mon Mar 16 19:29:54 UTC 2009

This is good news!


---------- Forwarded message ----------
For immediate release
March 12, 2009

First U.S. Public Access Policy Made Permanent

2009 Consolidated Appropriations Act ensures NIH public access policy
will persist

Washington, D.C. – March 12, 2009 – President Obama yesterday signed
into law the 2009 Consolidated Appropriations Act, which includes a
provision making the National Institutes’ of Health (NIH) Public
Access Policy permanent.  The NIH Revised Policy on Enhancing Public
Access requires eligible NIH-funded researchers to deposit electronic
copies of their peer-reviewed manuscripts into the National Library of
Medicine’s online archive, PubMed Central (PMC). Full texts of the
articles are made publicly available and searchable online in PMC no
later than 12 months after publication in a journal.

The NIH policy was previously implemented with a provision that was
subject to annual renewal. Since the implementation of the revised
policy the percentage of eligible manuscripts deposited into PMC has
increased significantly, with over 3,000 new manuscripts being
deposited each month. The PubMed Central database is a part of a
valuable set of public database resources at the NIH, which are
accessed by more than 2 million users each day.

The new provision reads in full:

The Director of the National Institutes of Health shall require in the
current fiscal year and thereafter that all investigators funded by
the NIH submit or have submitted for them to the National Library of
Medicine's PubMed Central an electronic version of their final,
peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication to be made
publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of
publication: Provided, That the NIH shall implement the public access
policy in a manner consistent with copyright law.

 “This is a significant moment for all of us in the health community,
and for efforts in health reform.  With free access to health
research, individuals are empowered with the knowledge necessary to
understand the health threats they and their families face,” said
Sharon Terry, President and CEO of Genetic Alliance.   “Congress
recognizes the incredible power of technology and innovation in
enabling new solutions for the proactive management of health,
consumer-driven healthcare, and novel partnerships and collaborations
in research.  Congratulations to us all.”

The NIH Public Access Policy addresses the public’s growing need for
high-quality health information and promotes accelerated scientific
advancement in the biomedical sciences.

"Public access to publicly funded research contributes directly to the
mission of higher education,” said David Shulenburger, Vice President
for Academic Affairs at NASULGC (the National Association of State
Universities and Land-Grant Colleges). “Improved access will enable
universities to maximize their own investment in research, and widen
the potential for discovery as the results are more readily available
for others to build upon.”

Heather Joseph, spokesperson for the Alliance for Taxpayer Access
noted, “Thanks to the work of a wide coalition of patients, libraries,
researchers, publishers, students, and taxpayers, the results of
NIH-funded research can be accessed – and used  - in ways never before
possible. The successful implementation of this policy will unlock the
potential of this research to benefit the public as a whole. ”

For more information, and a timeline detailing the evolution of the
NIH Public Access Policy beginning May 2004, visit the ATA Web site at


The Alliance for Taxpayer Access is a coalition of patient, academic,
research, and publishing organizations that supports open public
access to the results of federally funded research. The Alliance was
formed in 2004 to urge that peer-reviewed articles stemming from
taxpayer-funded research become fully accessible and available online
at no extra cost to the American public. Details on the ATA may be
found at http://www.taxpayeraccess.org.

Jonathan Gray

Community Coordinator
The Open Knowledge Foundation

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