Monday, July 30, 2007

Los Angelest Times Editorial on NIH Proposed Policy,0,2419093.story?coll=la-opinion-leftrail



Accessing NIH research

Congress should grant taxpayers free access to the medical studies they fund.
July 27, 2007

Taxpayers pony up $28 billion annually for the National Institutes of Health, the world's largest source of funding for medical research. The payoff, in addition to the occasional spectacular breakthrough, is more than 60,000 published studies each year. The first beneficiaries of that knowledge aren't doctors or patients. They are the publishers of the journals that review, print and sell the results to subscribers. Your tax dollars may have financed the clinical trial of a new treatment regime for the rare disease you've contracted, but you'll probably still have to pay to see the results.

Now, some lawmakers are trying to increase the public's access to this research. In a new funding bill for the NIH, the House of Representatives required that the results of the studies the government funds must be made freely available online within 12 months of their publication. The requirement builds on a 2-year-old NIH initiative to gather research in a free website called PubMed Central. That initiative was voluntary. But so few researchers complied -- less than 5% in the first year -- that proponents of "open access" to scientific research have lobbied to make it mandatory.

The main opposition has come from publishers, who argue that making research available free could ruin the smaller journals that serve some medical specialties. Libraries may stop subscribing to costly niche journals if they know the material will be available for free within a year. And if those journals die off, researchers will lose the valuable services they supply, such as rounding up experts to review studies before they're published.

While publishers have an important role to play, particularly in judging a study's credibility, that doesn't mean they're entitled to squeeze cash from that study in perpetuity. An open access requirement could force changes in some journals' business models, but a growing number have found ways to succeed while making research available for free -- for example, by charging researchers fees for publication. And the 12-month period of exclusivity enables publishers to continue selling journals to those with the most immediate need to see them.

At the same time, opening up access to NIH-funded studies will increase their impact on researchers around the world. That's very much in the public interest. The more information that's available, the more chance someone will leverage it into another medical breakthrough.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Upcoming Oral History Interviews

Howard Huelster, Tue July 24, 1-3pm
Aiko Fisher, Wed July 25, 9-11am
Rabbi Bernie Raskas, Wed July 25, 3-4pm
Roger Mosvick, Mon July 30, 1:30-4pm

Interviews are held in the Library Harmon Room

Monday, July 16, 2007

Please Help Support Public Access Policy

Please help us support the Public Access Policy that is being discussed in Congress this week.

"Effective this week, both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have proposed FY08 spending bills that direct the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to change its Public Access Policy so that NIH-funded researchers are required to deposit copies of NIH-funded research into the online archive of the National Library of Medicine. This is big step toward making the policy a success -- we need your help now more than ever.

The bills now go to the full House and the Senate for approval. To help ensure success there, we ask that all supporters contact their Representatives AND Senators with support of the proposed bills by phone or fax as soon as possible. The House is expected to convene on Tuesday, July 17, so we ask that Representatives be contacted no later than MONDAY afternoon."

Contacting your Representatives and Senators

Congresswoman Betty McCollum
1714 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: 202-225-6631
Fax: 202-225-1968
Web Site for Congresswomen McCollum
Web Contact Form

Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) Class II
320 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington D.C. 20510
Phone: 202-224-5641
Fax: 202-224-1152
Web Site for Senator Coleman

Web Contact Form

Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) Class I
320 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington D.C. 20510

Phone: 202-224-3244
Fax: 202-228-2186

Web Site for Senator Klobuchar
Web Contact Form

Other Important Links

ALA Legislative Action Center -
Find your Representative -

Find your Senator -

Please feel free to draw upon the following talking points:

  • The Fiscal Year 2008 Labor/HHS Appropriations Bill reported out of committee contains language directing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to change its Public Access Policy so that it requires NIH-funded researchers to deposit copies of agency-funded research articles into the National Library of Medicine's online archive.
  • This change is necessary for the policy to achieve its goals: to expand use of NIH research findings, enhance management of NIH's substantial research portfolio, and provide for a sustainable archive of research results funded with U.S. tax dollars.
  • Widespread dissemination of research results is an essential, inseparable component of our nation's investment in science and a right of the American taxpayer. It is only through use that we obtain value from this investment, so the open sharing of medical advances and scientific findings will increase and accelerate the return of benefits to taxpayers.
  • Public access to research will drive taxpayer benefits such as accelerated scientific advancement, enhanced national competitiveness, and improved public health.
  • Unfortunately, access to scientific and medical publications has lagged behind the wide reach of the Internet into U.S. homes and institutions. Fees for access to federally supported research unnecessarily limit U.S. taxpayer access to findings that result from the outlay of public funds.
  • Mandatory NIH public access removes imposing barriers, making the results of taxpayer-funded research readily available online at no extra charge to every scientist as well as to small businesses, patients, physicians and clinicians, students and educators, and the American public -- without disrupting the important peer-review process.
  • Over the more than two years since its implementation, the NIH's current voluntary policy has failed to achieve any of the agency's stated goals, attaining a deposit rate of less than 5% by individual researchers. A mandate is required to ensure deposit in NIH's online archive of articles describing findings of all research funded by the agency.
  • Mandatory public access to taxpayer-funded research at the NIH has the full support of the NIH Director, as well as broad bipartisan support in Congress.
  • We urge Congress to approve without change the language included in the Labor/HHS Appropriates bill directing the NIH to implement a mandatory policy ensuring free timely access to all research articles stemming from NIH-funded research.

It is vital that Congress hear from constituents at this critical time. Please take action as soon as you can."

Thank you for your support

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Off Campus Access to Library Resources

The Library is pleased to announce that you can now use your Macalester network username and password to login to Library resources from off campus locations. This is the same username and password used for your e-mail, Moodle, or Oracle Calendar as opposed to the current login based on your Library barcode number. If you have questions about off campus access to resources, please see our Ask Us Web page for help options.