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I am a Professor of Law and the Director of the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property at the American University, Washington College of Law and am a founding member of the Creative Commons board.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

NIH Policy - Urgent

In a last ditch effort to undermine the public interest, Senator Inhofe (R-OK) has introduced amendments to pending legislation with the intent of denying American taxpayers access to medical journal articles reporting research funded with American tax dollars.

It is urgent that American readers contact their Senators to OPPOSE amendments that strike or change the NIH public access provision in the FY08 Labor/HHS appropriations bill.

The Senate is currently considering the FY08 Labor-HHS Bill, which includes a provision (already approved by the House of Representatives and the full Senate Appropriations Committee), that directs the NIH to change its Public Access Policy so that participation is required (rather than requested) for researchers, and ensures free, timely public access to articles resulting from NIH-funded research. This provisions requires public access within 12 months of publication - a very generous lead time for journal publishers.

On Friday, Senator Inhofe (R-OK), filed two amendments (#3416 and #3417), which call for the language to either be stricken from the bill, or modified in a way that would gravely limit the policy’s effectiveness. Amendment #3416 would eliminate the provision altogether. Amendment #3417 is likely to be presented to your Senator as a compromise that “balances” the needs of the public and of publishers. It does nothing of the sort because the current voluntary policy is a failure and this amendment is designed to maintain the status quo.

Please contact your Senators TODAY and urge them to vote “NO” on amendments #3416 and #3417. (Contact must be made before close of business on Monday, October 22). Contact information and a tool to email your Senator are online at No time to write? Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to be patched through to your Senate office.



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