October 6, 2005

U.S. Senate Supports NIH Public Access Policy; Requests Report

One month after the U.S. House of Representatives endorsed the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access policy and called for measures to judge its effectiveness, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee followed suit, requesting a prompt and thorough report evaluating the success of the policy. The Senate report accompanying the Fiscal Year 2006 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill requests a report from NIH by February 2006 that will include data on the total number of applicable works submitted since the May 2 implementation date, as well as the embargo period selected by each submitting author.

Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC, the founding organizational member of the Alliance for Taxpayer Access (ATA), noted that ATA members are committed to continuing to work to ensure the implementation of a meaningful public access policy at NIH, and are encouraged by this strong signal of support from Congress.

ATA believes that the NIH policy's success will be measured by the number of articles deposited in PubMed Central and made accessible to the public soon after publication, and has consistently asked that the NIH publicly post such statistics to help gauge the policy’s effectiveness. Last month, NIH Director Elias Zerhouni issued a positive response to ATA’s request to post these critical submission data on the NIH public access website. (To view this document, go to http://www.taxpayeraccess.org/docs/NIH_Postings_Response.pdf)

Data released by the NIH at a recent meeting of the NIH Public Access Working Group indicate that the number of submissions since the policy's implementation is very low. Based on annual data, NIH funding is responsible for about 65,000 scholarly articles per year. Therefore, NIH grantees could have chosen to place approximately 11,000 articles on PubMed Central——making this taxpayer-funded research available free to the public. However, statistics provided by NIH show that only three percent of this number, or 340 articles accepted for publication, have been submitted by NIH grantees.

-- *SPARC e-news*, June-July 2005

Posted by stemp003 at October 6, 2005 10:23 AM
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