Government Information News 2004

Reminder: Action Needed Now
Comments due Nov. 16 to NIH on proposal on public access to research

On September 3, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a proposed plan to make research articles based on NIH funding available to the public free of charge. These articles would be publicly available in NIH’s PubMed Central (PMC) within six months after their publication in a peer-reviewed journal. NIH has requested public comment on the plan prior to November 16, 2004.

Many organizations have expressed strong support for the NIH proposal, including various members of the Alliance for Taxpayer Access, to which ALA belongs; the Association of American Universities; the Association of Independent Research Institutes; and the National Academy of Sciences. However, there is virgorous opposition from some parts of the publishing community, hence ALA urges libraries and individuals in the library community to provide their views to NIH. As set out in the September 3rd notice, your comments can be submitted through a simple web form, http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/public_access/add.htm.

Despite the often misleading statements offered by its opponents, the NIH proposal is a well-reasoned, incremental step that carefully balances the interests of all the stakeholders.

Please act now to give your support to this very important effort.

See links below (Nov. 1)


November 1:
Comments due Nov. 16 to NIH on proposal on public access to research
On September 3, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a proposed plan to make research articles based on NIH funding available to the public free of charge. These articles would be publicly available in NIH's PubMed Central (PMC) within six months after their publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

More on NIH funding


April 28:
Committee on House Administration, Government Printing Office Oversight Hearing: Statement of Janis L. Johnston Director of the Law Library and Associate Professor of Law, Albert E. Jenner Memorial Law Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,On Behalf of the, American Association of Law Libraries, American Library Association, Association of Research Libraries, Medical Library Association, and Special Libraries Association

pdf file


April 23:
The American Library Association Joins Others In Expressing Concern About the Nomination of Allen Weinstein to Become Archivist of the United States.

statement


29 November:
The American Library Association, together with other library, archives, journalists and public interest organizations, filed an amici curiae brief with the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals supporting public access to information about the makeup of the National Energy Policy Development Group (NEPDG), convened by Vice President Cheney in 2001.The amici joining in this brief believe the case is vital to preserving public access to government information under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) and share the conviction that broad access to government records protects values essential to representative democracy and promotes public participation in public policy.

The amici argue that the District Court should accept the Supreme Court's invitation to develop an innovative procedure for accommodating the competing interests asserted in this case: "when important constitutional principles are on a collision course, as in this case, courts should be wary of any winner-take-all resolution." The amici recommend creating a "Cheney Log" following the familiar model of the "Vaughn Index," used in Freedom of Information Act cases, identifying certain basic information that may be provided by the government without undue burden or compromise of confidentiality. That information should provide a sufficient basis for the private parties and the courts to evaluate whether and to what extent non-government persons participated in meetings of the NEPDG or its sub-groups, thereby triggering FACA requirements that protect against the improper influence of special interests on government decision-making.

The case was brought by the Sierra Club and Judicial Watch and heard at the United States Supreme Court in April 2004. The Supreme Court, recognizing the importance of the issue and the conflicting principles of separation of powers and public accountability, sent the case back to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals for adjudication.

pdf file of the brief


11 March:
The U. S. Supreme Court should "reject the government's claim that it may conduct the public's business in secret" according to a "friends of the court" ( amici curiae) brief submitted today by four leading library associations, a national archival association, and five public interest organizations in support of the Sierra Club and Judicial Watch, Inc. in the case of Richard B. Cheney, Vice President of the United States, et. al., v. U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The amici are the American Association of Law Libraries, the American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries, the Center for American Progress, Common Cause, the National Security Archive, People for the American Way Foundation, the Society of American Archivists, and the Special Libraries Association.

pdf of the brief