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Help ALA, ATA Work to Make NIH Research More Accessible

ALA is a member of the Alliance for Taxpayer Access (ATA), a coalition of over 60 library, non-profit, and patient advocacy groups. Through the ATA, we are working on various aspects of improving public access to taxpayer-funded research.

One continuing area of interest is the actions taken by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to make research funded by it more accessible to the public. The Alliance web site has been updated recently to reflect progress related to the NIH Public Access Policy since it was introduced on May 2, 2005. See the NIH page here.

The Web page offers a chronology of events, which includes House of Representatives Appropriations activity, the NIH Re-Authorization process, and an October 2006 letter from Dr. Elias Zerhouni, NIH Director, to SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition. The revised web page also offers a call to action for all who support public access to NIH-funded research.

ATA members continue to aim to ensure both Dr. Zerhouni and our representatives in Congress that patient groups, researchers, non-profit publishers, consumers, and libraries stand behind a mandatory policy and a six-month embargo.

The ATA call to action reads:


NIH Public Access Policy – Public Access Plan in Effect to Make NIH-funded Research Available

Changes are needed for this policy to achieve its goals.


1) Phone, fax, or e-mail your senator and request that s/he act to support the policy. Contact information is available at the Senate web site. (A letter template is available on the ATA Web site.)

Especially important to contact are members of the following committee(s):

Senate Appropriations, Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies

2) Patient Groups, fax a letter of support for the policy and a six-month embargo (if not immediate access) to Director Zerhouni (301-402-2700). (A letter template is available on the ATA Web site.)

3) Add this image to your web site and show your support for taxpayer access to federally funded research:


Please distribute this message as widely as possible.

Information about pending federal legislation to improve access to research is available on ALA’s web site.

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Jacob Roberts is the communications specialist for the ALA Washington Office.

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