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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Two U.S. Government reports call for public access to agency-funded research

Energy Department and Centers for Disease Control documents call for open public access to research

ALLIANCE FOR TAXPAYER ACCESS
Media Advisory
For Immediate Release
May 3, 2007

For more information, contact:
Jennifer McLennan
Director of Communications,
SPARC
jennifer [at] arl [dot] org
(202) 631-8854

Washington, D.C. – May 3, 2007 – Recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) highlight growing recognition of the need for public access to taxpayer-funded research. Both the CDC Professional Judgment for Fiscal Year 2008 and a workshop report from the DOE Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) indicate clearly the importance to each agency of having agency-funded research made openly available.

The CDC Professional Judgment, which was submitted to the House Committee on Appropriations, Labor/HHS Subcommittee on April 20, 2007 by CDC Director Julie Gerberding, includes public access at the top of a list of critical needs, calling for:

“Open access to CDC’s research publications for other scientists and the public (rapid, free, and unrestricted online access) to CDC sponsored peer reviewed research and access to ‘data in progress’ among scientists, especially during emergencies like SARS…”

The CDC Professional Judgment is online at http://www.fundcdc.org/documents/CDC_FY2008_PJ.pdf and will be considered by the House Appropriations Committee in making final appropriations decisions for 2008.

The Department of Energy workshop report is the product of a meeting organized by OSTI to “discuss and develop a roadmap for advancing science and technology by accelerating the sharing of scientific and technical knowledge.” Entitled Workshop Panel Report on Accelerating the Spread of Knowledge Science and Technology - Examination of the Needs and Opportunities, the report states:

"… because scientific discovery is a cumulative process, with new knowledge building upon earlier findings, it is imperative that unnecessary barriers to sharing the immediate results of research should be removed. In this regard, the Panel supports and encourages the principle that publicly funded unclassified research should be deposited in stable, freely accessible public archives and made freely available as soon as possible after acceptance for publication. This will clearly advance the return on research investment and foster the rapid diffusion of knowledge."

Among the panel’s list of eight key conclusions is that, “The spread of knowledge will be accelerated if DOE-funded unclassified research results are made available expeditiously in a publicly accessible system." The report is online at http://www.osti.gov/communications/publications/2007/workshop.pdf.

The CDC and DOE documents bolster the case for recent proposals to provide for public access to taxpayer-funded research. More information is online at http://www.taxpayeraccess.org.

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The Alliance for Taxpayer Access is a coalition of patient, academic, research, and publishing entities that support open public access to the results of federally funded research. The Alliance was formed in 2004 to urge that peer-reviewed articles on taxpayer-funded research become fully accessible and available online at no extra cost to the American public. Details on the ATA may be found at http://www.taxpayeraccess.org.