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Mandate for public access to NIH-funded research poised to become law
Date:10/24/2007

Washington, D.C. October 24, 2007 - The U.S. Senate last night approved the FY2008 Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Bill (S.1710), including a provision that directs the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to strengthen its Public Access Policy by requiring rather than requesting participation by researchers. The bill will now be reconciled with the House Appropriations Bill, which contains a similar provision, in another step toward support for public access to publicly funded research becoming United States law.

Last nights Senate action is a milestone victory for public access to taxpayer-funded research, said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, a founding member of the ATA). This policy sets the stage for researchers, patients, and the general public to benefit in new and important ways from our collective investment in the critical biomedical research conducted by the NIH.

Under a mandatory policy, NIH-funded researchers will be required to deposit copies of eligible manuscripts into the National Library of Medicines online database, PubMed Central. Articles will be made publicly available no later than 12 months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

The current NIH Public Access Policy, first implemented in 2005, is a voluntary measure and has resulted in a deposit rate of less than 5% by individual investigators. The advance to a mandatory policy is the result of more than two years of monitoring and evaluation by the NIH, Congress, and the community.

We thank our Senators for taking action on this important issue, said Pat Furlong, Founding President and CEO of Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy. This level of access to NIH-funded research will impact the disease process in novel ways, improving the ability of scientists to advance therapies and enabling patients and their advocates to participate more effectively. The advance is ti
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Contact: Jennifer McLennan
jennifer@arl.org
202-296-2296
SPARC
Source:Eurekalert

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