Taxpayer advocacy group says Cures Bill is the right medicine

December 09, 2005

The Alliance for Taxpayer Access (ATA), a national coalition of patient groups, libraries, and public interest organizations, today praised the research access provision of legislation introduced to establish the American Center for Cures within the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Introduced on December 7th by Senators Joe Lieberman (D-CT) and Thad Cochran (R-MS), the bipartisan Cures Bill would expedite development of new therapies and cures for life-threatening diseases. Among the requirements of the bill is the establishment of free public access to articles stemming from research funded by agencies of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), including NIH, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

"The Cures Bill is exactly the medicine that's needed," said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) and a leader of the ATA. "It goes right to the heart of the case for unfettered access to publicly funded research. Senators Lieberman and Cochran took a close look at how best to speed development of treatments for diseases. Among their conclusions is that it's time we ensure the research we're already conducting is available to all potential users."

Pat Furlong, executive director of Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy and an ATA member, was also pleased with the bill. "It recognizes how important the sharing of information is to speeding research and translating new knowledge into cures," said Furlong. "In the age of the Internet, it makes no sense for the results of taxpayer-funded research to be hidden away."

The bill calls for DHHS-funded research to be made available in NIH's popular PubMed Central online digital archive within four months of publication in a peer-reviewed journal. The NIH already has a policy that asks its investigators to deposit their manuscripts in PubMed Central, but the policy is voluntary and public access can be delayed up to a year. NIH estimates that less than five percent of eligible research is making its way into PubMed Central under their current policy. The Cures Bill would require deposit of refereed articles and reach beyond the NIH. It would also provide access sooner than the NIH policy.
About the Cures BillThe Alliance for Taxpayer Access is a coalition of stakeholders who support reforms that will make publicly funded research accessible to the public. Formed in 2004, the Alliance has played a leading role in the drive for free, timely access on the Internet to peer-reviewed articles funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. It is administered on behalf of Alliance members by SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition). Information on the Alliance may be found at Alliance members are:

AIDS Action Baltimore
AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition
American Association of Law Libraries
American Library Association
American Medical Student Association
Amherst College Library
Arthritis Foundation
Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum
Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries
Association of College & Research Libraries
Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs
Association of Research Libraries
Autosomal Recessive Polycystic Kidney Disease and Congenital Hepatic Fibrosis Alliance (ARPKD/CHF Alliance)
Barth Syndrome Foundation
Boston College Libraries
Boston Library Consortium
Bowdoin College Library
Carnegie Mellon University Libraries
Chemists Without Borders
Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation
CUNY - City College Libraries
Coalition for Heritable Disorders of Connective Tissue
Colorado State University
Conquer Fragile X Syndrome
Denison University - William H. Doane Library
Down Syndrome Treatment and Research Foundation
Eastern Kentucky University Libraries
Emory University Libraries
Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE)
Genetic Alliance
Global Neuroscience Inititative Foundation
Greater Western Library Alliance
International Mosaic Down Syndrome Association (IMDSA)
International Journal of Medical Sciences
IsoDicentric 15 Exchange, Advocacy and Support (IDEAS)
Kent State University Libraries
Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering & Technology
Loyola Univesity Chicago Libraries
Medical Education Online
Mycosis Fungoides Foundation
National Alliance for Autism Research
National Coalition for PKU & Allied Disorders
National Fragile X Foundation
National Tay-Sachs & Allied Diseases Association
New England Biolabs
Oberlin College
Ohio Library and Information Network
Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy
Prader-Willi Syndrome Association
Public Knowledge
Public Library of Science
Pseudoxanthoma Elasticum (PXE) International
Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC)
Special Libraries Association
Spina Bifida Association of America
Swarthmore College
Tourette Syndrome Association
Tufts University Libraries
University of Colorado at Boulder Libraries
University of Connecticut Libraries
University of Kansas
University of New Hampshire
University of Wisconsin - Madison Libraries
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh - Forrest R. Polk Library
Utah Academic Library Consortium
Wayne State University College of Nursing
Williams College Libraries


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