Alliance congratulates Congress and NIH

November 29, 2004

Monday, November 29 (Washington, DC) - The Alliance for Taxpayer Access, a national coalition of organizations that support enhanced public access to published NIH-funded research, today expressed appreciation to Congress for signaling support through the year-end omnibus appropriations bill for the proposed NIH policy. The conference report for this legislation recognized specifically that the policy will make research results more readily accessible to scientists, physicians, and the public.

Rick Johnson, spokesman for the Alliance and director of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), added his praise for leaders on Capitol Hill and at the NIH. "Congressional leaders and NIH Director Elias Zerhouni have listened respectfully to all voices in this debate on how to expand access to the published results of NIH-funded science. They agree with us that NIH's primary responsibility is to serve science and to improve human health. We are proud partners with both to ensure that the conduct, scientific review and dissemination of research truly serve the public's interests. We firmly believe the compromise path that NIH has identified, to make research available six months after publication, will address this opportunity intelligently without threatening publishers' livelihoods."

Johnson also noted, "Sunday evening, in its highly-regarded news series called 'Fleecing of America,' the NBC Nightly News underscored the human cost of restricting access to taxpayer-funded research." The story highlighted a cancer patient's campaign for open access to NIH research. (Footage of the NBC clip, "The Fleecing of America" can be viewed at www.msnbc.com by clicking on News Videos located in the left hand column of the website.)
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The Alliance for Taxpayer Access is an informal coalition of stakeholders who support reforms that will make publicly funded biomedical research accessible to the public. The Alliance was formed earlier this year specifically to urge and support the National Institutes of Health, as well as Congress, to ensure that peer-reviewed articles on taxpayer-funded research at NIH become fully accessible and available on line and at no extra cost to the American public. Details and FAQ's on the Alliance may be found at www.taxpayeraccess.org.

Witeck Combs

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