Alliance for Taxpayer Access asks NIH 'Who really owns publicly-funded medical research?'


After delay in planned announcement

WASHINGTON – In a letter sent Tuesday to National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director, Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni, the Alliance for Taxpayer Access, an informal coalition of stakeholders who support reforms that will make publicly funded biomedical research accessible to the public, expressed deep disappointment after NIH cancelled a planned briefing and announcement on new guidelines. No explanation was given for the cancellation of the announcement.

Advocates had hoped the NIH plan would make peer-reviewed articles on taxpayer-funded research fully accessible and available online at no extra cost to the American public. In the long-awaited Enhanced Public Access Policy, NIH was expected to issue a call to action to each grant recipient to voluntarily submit her or his peer-reviewed scientific research results to PubMed Central at the National Library of Medicine. By making this wealth of federally–funded research information available to spur innovation and improve health, NIH would work through its grantees to fulfill the 'research compact' that governs every grant of public funds by the agency.

In their letter, the Alliance for Taxpayer Access stated, "We are deeply disappointed by the delay in today's scheduled NIH announcement of its policy on enhanced public access to NIH research. We cannot understand, given the vital interest and importance of this research, especially to Americans awaiting the medical innovation that this public investment fuels, that there is any reason to further delay statement of a clear and open NIH policy."

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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