Taxpayer Alliance supports senate bill broadening access to federal research

Cornyn-Lieberman bill requires key federal funders to post research on Internet, bill introduced on first anniversary of NIH public access policy implementation

Washington, DC – May 2, 2006 – The Alliance for Taxpayer Access (ATA) gives full support to the "Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006," introduced today by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT). The bill requires federal agencies that fund over $100 million in annual external research to make electronic manuscripts of peer-reviewed journal articles stemming from their research publicly available via the Internet.

"The expanded access to research called for by this bill will help accelerate true innovation in science and medicine," said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, an ATA founding member). "The public's interest is clear; whether it is speeding a response to a potential flu pandemic, developing energy alternatives or putting the brakes on global warming, access to publicly funded science is more critical than ever. Joseph added, "The Alliance is encouraged by Congressional leaders who agree that we can do much more to leverage the taxpayers' return on federal investment in these essential areas."

ATA coalition members noted that the legislation's introduction coincides with the first anniversary of the implementation of the NIH Public Access Policy – the first regulatory effort to open access to taxpayer-funded research on the Internet through the National Library of Medicine's PubMed Central database.

ATA members include the Genetic Alliance, Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, the Christopher Reeve Foundation, and 67 other patient, academic, research, and publishing entities that support expanded public access to the results of federally funded research. "We support this bill," said Sharon Terry, director of Genetic Alliance, "because it provides a mechanism that will allow the results of our investment in science to be shared – shared among collaborating scientists, physicians, students, and patients. There is no longer any excuse for our failure to give all stakeholders in the scientific enterprise access to all scientific information, so that discovery and innovation are transformed."

"Public access to research expands shared knowledge across scientific fields and is the best path for accelerating multi-disciplinary breakthroughs in research," said Richard J. Roberts, a Nobel Prize laureate and Research Director at New England Biolabs. "As a scientist and a taxpayer, I support this bill because it lifts barriers that hinder, delay, or block the spread of scientific knowledge supported by federal tax dollars."

"The Greater Western Library Alliance has long advocated broader public access to scientific research funded by federal tax dollars, and the legislation proposed by Senators Cornyn and Lieberman will facilitate access to this critical information for scholars, students, and the general public," said Adrian W. Alexander, Executive Director of the Alliance, which represents 31 research libraries. "Our members support free access to research and are looking forward to contacting their representatives in Congress to voice their opinion on this issue."

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The following agencies have extramural budgets in excess of $100 million and under this legislation would be required to make their research publicly accessible: Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Science Foundation.

For more information, visit http://www.taxpayeraccess.org.

The Alliance for Taxpayer Access is a coalition of stakeholders who support reforms that will make publicly funded research accessible to the public. The Alliance was formed in 2004 specifically to urge that peer-reviewed articles on taxpayer-funded research at NIH become fully accessible and available online at no extra cost to the American public. Details on the Alliance may be found at www.taxpayeraccess.org.


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