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AHCJ: Proposed legislation would be blow to public access Date: 02/19/09


Feb. 19, 2009

Contact: Len Bruzzese, AHCJ executive director, 573-884-5606

The Association of Health Care Journalists supports full and timely public access to the results of government-funded research. It believes legislation introduced this month by U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr. and others would constitute a blow to the public's right to access vital scientific data.

The Fair Copyright in Research Works Act, HR 801 (PDF), introduced Feb. 3, would reverse a National Institutes of Health policy that requires federal research grantees to provide their peer-reviewed articles to PubMed Central, a free online database. Under the policy, manuscripts resulting from federally-funded research must be made publicly available within 12 months of their publication date.

The NIH Public Access Policy provides millions of Americans, including health care providers, researchers, patients and their families, and journalists, with critical health data funded by taxpayers. The Conyers bill would choke access to these crucial public resources. AHCJ believes more public access, not less, is required.