April 7, 2011 marks the third anniversary of a groundbreaking policy that has dramatically improved access to a trove of medical and scientific knowledge. Whenever the National Institutes of Health (NIH) allocates taxpayer money for scientific research, the much-heralded NIH Public Access Policy ensures that the fruits of that research are made freely available to the same taxpayers that funded it. Every day, NIH's free PubMed Central database provides valuable research data to students, academics, and individuals looking for up-to-date knowledge about health issues. Alongside other members of the Alliance for Taxpayer Access, EFF has long supported this common-sense initiative -- taxpayers, after all, pay for a great deal of NIH research, and this policy simply gives them access to the research they fund.
To celebrate the third anniversary of this policy, the Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) is launching a campaign to raise awareness about the benefits of public access to taxpayer-funded research. They have issued a call for stories -- a chance for users to explain how they have benefited from the NIH databases. If you have found articles on PubMed Central to be useful, please submit a story. This is your chance to tell the world if access to this data has impacted your life, your research, or your ability to communicate with a healthcare provider. By showcasing the real results of this forward-thinking policy, advocates can better demonstrate the public benefits of giving taxpayers access to the research they pay for with tax dollars.
Participants should email stories directly to heather [at] arl [dot] org. SPARC will contact submitters before any public sharing of submitted stories. Visit the website for more details.