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Contact Your Senators in Support of Open Access

As the U.S. Senate considers Appropriations measures this fall for fiscal year (FY) 2008, please take a moment to remind your Senators of your strong support for public access to publicly funded research and, specifically, ensuring the success of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy by making deposit mandatory for researchers.

Earlier this summer, the House of Representatives passed legislation with language that directs the NIH to make this change. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a similar measure. Now, as the Appropriations process moves forward, it is critically important that our Senators are reminded of the breadth and depth of support for enhanced public access to the results of NIH-funded research. Please take a moment to weigh in with your Senator now.

Please fax a letter expressing your support to your Senator no later than Friday, September 28, 2007. Use the Legislative Action Center to get your Senator’s contact information, as well as to send emails and faxes to Congress.

(We would also appreciate if it you would let us know what action you were able to take, or send a copy of your letter to Tara Olivero at in the ALA Washington Office or fax it to 202-628-8419.)

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 Medicine¹s 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 NIH¹s 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.

(The Alliance for Taxpayer Access will be making additional resources for patient advocates ­ including the recording of our August 30 webcast and specific talking points ­ available shortly as well. Check the ATA website for updates.)

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

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