The U.S. Senate is considering the fiscal year (FY) 2008 Labor–HHS-Education (LHHS) bill, which includes several very important library service-related funding provisions. One important provision directs the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to implement a mandatory policy ensuring the free, timely access to all research articles stemming from NIH funded research via NIH’s PubMed Central online archive. ALA, the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) and other library groups have strongly supported this proposal.
Please contact your Senators as soon as possible to gain their support during a critical upcoming vote. As part of this appropriations debate, the Senate will take up two amendments, #3416 and #3417, authored by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) that would strike the provision in the LHHS appropriations bill directing the NIH to make its research reports available to the public.
A mandatory policy is the only way to ensure that taxpayers recoup their investment in NIH-funded research. Taxpayer-funded NIH research belongs to the American public. They have paid for it and it is for their benefit. These reports are a critical and unique source of medical information. A sample email is provided for you to personalize and explain why public access to these important NIH materials is important to your institution and your library users.
It is critical that these Inhofe amendments do not pass. We must demonstrate to supporters in the Senate the depth and breadth of our commitment to successful public access to NIH research. If you have written in support before, please do so again. ALA, ACRL, the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) and other organizations have been working with the Alliance for Taxpayer Access. Jennifer McLennan (contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or by fax at (202) 872-0884) is coordinating the grassroots efforts on these issues and would appreciate feedback as you proceed to contact your Senators.