Open Access Archived News 2005

Nov 05

Taxpayer Advocacy Group Lauds Call By NIH Advisory Panel For Mandatory Public Access To Research

The Alliance for Taxpayer Access, a national coalition of over 60 library, non-profit, and patient advocacy groups, issued a statement on November 22, 2005, praising the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Working Group (PAWG) for recommending that researchers be required to deposit published articles resulting from NIH funding in PubMed Central (PMC), NIH’s online database of journal literature.

At a November 15 meeting of the working group, a majority of members also called for articles to be freely available in PMC within six months of their publication in a journal. The current NIH policy is voluntary for funding recipients and allows access to be delayed for up to one year.

The Public Access Working Group, which reports to the Board of Regents of NIH’s National Library of Medicine, includes publishers, societies, researchers, patient groups, and libraries. The Working Group was convened by NIH last May to inform the implementation of its Public Access Policy

ALA, ACRL, AALL, ARL, MLA and SLA are all members of the Alliance for Taxpayer Access, a coalition of stakeholders who support reforms that will make publicly funded research accessible to the public. Formed in 2004, the Alliance played a leading role in the drive for free 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

Information Access Alliance

ALA has partnered with ARL, AALL, MLA, ACRL, SLA and SPARC to form a coalition that believes that "a new standard of antitrust review should be adopted by state and federal antitrust enforcement agencies in examining merger transactions in the serials publishing industry." The Alliance sent a letter to the Justice Department in May 2003 urging that the Cinven and Candover purchase of BertelsmannSpringer be blocked. The trend in publishing house mergers has led to a decrease in competition, a substantial increase in the cost of scientific serial publications that could lead to a dangerous decrease in the availability of important scientific information.


Public Library of Science

The privately funded Public Library of Science, begun by three distinguished scientists, recently opened on the Internet. This initiative seeks to create an alternative route to accessing scientific research. The library's goal is to create an extensive electronic library that would be free to anyone and would not require users to obtain permission to read or copy the materials.


New Coalition for Public Access

14 July
Senate Supports NIH Public Access Policy
Panel Requires NIH to Record and Post Statistics to Judge Effectiveness

Senate Appropriations Committee requested a report evaluating the effectiveness of the NIH Public Access policy.

The Senate report which accompanies the Fiscal Year 2006 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill requests NIH to submit a report by February 2006, that will include the total number of applicable works submitted since the May 2 implementation date, and the embargo period selected by each submitting author. (Excerpt from Alliance for Taxpayer Access press release, July 15, 2005)


Federal Legislation

H.R. 2613: Public Access to Science Act

H.R. 2613 would amend federal law to exclude from copyright protection works that resulted from substantially government funded "scientific research." The bill is based on the premise that such research should be made freely and readily available to the public, scholars and scientists. The bill has become the subject of debate with some critics arguing that removing copyright protection could hamper academic publishing and negatively affect research funding. Some claim the bill takes an extreme approach at a time when all stakeholders are beginning to address the problem.

A pdf copy of the bill: