Don Marti

Sun 01 Mar 2009 09:11:20 AM PST

letter to Rep. Pete Stark about the Conyers bill

(hey, kids, cut and paste! Also see H.R. 801 on and discussion on Open Access News.)

Dear Representative Stark:

I am writing to ask you to oppose H.R. 801, which would eliminate the Public Access Policy at the National Institutes of Health. The NIH web site says, "The NIH Public Access Policy ensures that the public has access to the published results of NIH funded research."

Public access to the research we pay for isn't just fair to taxpayers. As a high school science fair participant, I relied on paper copies of journals at the Notre Dame libraries. But today, more and more journals are delivered electronically, keyed to an institutional ID. Not just low-budget researchers, but practicing physicians, patients, and their families are locked out of many NIH-funded results unless we ensure public access.

H.R. 801's sponsors call it the "Fair Copyright in Research Works Act," but there is nothing "fair" about it. Giving public money to researchers and then handing over the results to exclusive high-priced publishing companies which cover none of the research or writing costs is corporate welfare, pure and simple.

In today's tough budget situation, corporate welfare needs to be the first thing we cut, and it would be irresponsible to add more. Please protect taxpayer access to the results of taxpayer-funded research by opposing HR 801 and supporting the NIH Public Access Policy.