A really good overview of the current NIH mandate situation

I was just reading this really nicely balanced and argued piece entitled Kicking the Door Stop on Open Access and thought that I would share it with you. I was wondering just why it was so well written and reasonable in tone so I stopped to read the bio of the author, Rick Weiss, only to find that he is used to be the science and medicine lead reporter for the Washington Post for fifteen years, which explains a lot! I particularly liked his closing comment:

“The open access system is in place, on a limited scale. I say, “Let the experiment go on.” It’s a great opportunity to see if it works. And it’s a great inspiration for ink-and-paper publishers to start thinking about more modern ways to continue to profit in the inevitably lucrative business of onpassing new scientific findings”.

T-shirts are going out Monday to all folks who registered before the closing date

We hope you won’t mind but we need to do a little bit of t-shirt stock juggling. We’re going to be sending folks who registered before the t-shirt offer closing date of 9.12 one of these two designs instead of the ones we originally featured. But, the good news is that by doing this, we’re going to be able to send them out to everyone who signed-up in time instead of just the first 25 who did so before that date. The rest of the registrants will get some OA buttons which are pretty cool too.

Here are the t-shirt designs:

Here are the buttons:

Useful Wiki – Open Access Directory has new educational materials

Today was my first vist to the Open Access Directory (OAD), a wiki where the community can create simple lists of useful stuff that can be used to assist the spread of accurate information.  What a great site, with a very calming Fall image of trees and water which is useful as we work like crazy putting together the finishing touches to our “event in a box”.  Peter Suber, a leading figure in this movement timed the release of some new OAD educational materials to give all you folks planning an Open Access Day the nice boost of some extra resources. Thanks Peter.

Wow – we have 65 participants

I just updated the list of participating libraries, we’ve grown from 50 to 65 organizations since I last wrote. We have space for more so if you are thinking of getting on board, now is the time to do so, we’re getting close. It’s especially pleasing to see the list of international folks growing quickly too.

So many downloadables and creatables for OA day now available

Boy, we’ve been busy, check out our downloads and creatables page, it’s full of great items to get the word out and distribute on the day such as:

  • A brief introduction to OA from Peter Suber
  • Headed paper so you can make flyers about your own events
  • Open Access Buttons
  • Open Access Bookmarks
  • Open Access Day Press Release
  • Open Access Day Banners to post on your websites, some in Japanese!
  • We support Open Access flyer – the stars of our forthcoming video series speak out for OA
  • Items that you can order from SPARC

NIH mandate under attack – we need your help by 9.24

We need you to make a noise for OA by contacting your representatives and senators to protest a new bill introduced into congress that would effectively reverse the NIH Public Access Policy. There’s an especially nice post from David Dooling at PolITigenomics on the topic here.

So what’s the story? On September 11, 2008, the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee (Rep. John Conyers, D-MI) introduced a bill that would effectively reverse the NIH Public Access Policy, as well as make it impossible for other federal agencies to put similar policies into place.

The legislation is HR6845: “Fair Copyright in Research Works Act”.  You can read more about the intentions of this legislation here.

Please contact your Representative and Senators no later than September 24, 2008 to express your support for public access to taxpayer-funded research and ask that he or she OPPOSE HR6845.

Especially important are members of the House Judiciary Committee http://judiciary.house.gov/about/members.html and Senate Judiciary Committee

Draft text and contact details are included below.


Dear [Representative/Senator];

On behalf of [your organization], I strongly urge you to OPPOSE HR 6845, the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act, introduced to the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, on September 11, 2008. This bill would reverse the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy, prohibit American taxpayers from accessing any and all research funded by taxpayer dollars, and stifle critical advancements in lifesaving research and scientific discovery.

Because of the NIH Public Access Policy, millions of Americans now have access to vital health care information from the NIH’s PubMed Central database. Under the current policy, nearly 4,000 new crucial biomedical articles were deposited in the last month alone. HR6845 would prohibit the deposit of these articles so that, as a result, researchers, physicians, health care professionals, families and individuals will be seriously impeded in their ability to access NIH-funded, critical health-related information.

[Why you support taxpayer access and the NIH policy]. The NIH policy must be allowed to continue to ensure public access to the results of research funded by the agency with taxpayer dollars. Please OPPOSE HR6845.





name state fax

Senator Patrick Leahy VT 202-224-3479 (Chairman)
Senator Arlen Specter PA 202-228-1229 (Ranking Member)
Senator Jeff Sessions AL 202-224-3149
Senator Jon Kyl AZ 202-224-2207
Senator Dianne Feinstein CA 202-228-3954
Senator Joseph Biden DE 202-224-0139
Senator Charles Grassley IA 202-224-6020
Senator Richard Durbin IL 202-228-0400
Senator Sam Brownback KS 202-228-1265
Senator Edward M. Kennedy MA 202-224-2417
Senator Benjamin Cardin MD 202-224-1651
Senator Charles Schumer NY 202-228-3027
Senator Tom Coburn OK 202-224-6008
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse RI 202-228-6362
Senator Lindsey Graham SC 202-224-3808
Senator John Cornyn TX 202-228-2856
Senator Orrin Hatch UT 202-224-6331
Senator Herb Kohl WI 202-224-9787
Senator Russell Feingold WI 202-224-2725


name state fax
Rep. John Conyers, Jr. MI 202-225-0072 (Chairman)
Rep. Lamar Smith TX 202-225-8628 (Ranking Member)
Rep. Artur Davis AL 202-226-9567
Rep. Trent Franks AZ 202-225-6328
Rep. Howard Berman CA 202-225-3196
Rep. Zoe Lofgren CA 202-225-3336
Rep. Maxine Waters CA 202-225-7854
Rep. Linda T. Sanchez CA 202-226-1012
Rep. Brad Sherman CA 202-225-5879
Rep. Adam Schiff CA 202-225-5828
Rep. Elton Gallegly CA 202-225-1100
Rep. Dan Lungren CA 202-226-1298
Rep. Darrell Issa CA 202-225-3303
Rep. Robert Wexler FL 202-225-5974
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz FL 202-226-2052
Rep. Ric Keller FL 202-225-0999
Rep. Tom Feeney FL 202-226-6299
Rep. Hank Johnson GA 202-226-0691
Rep. Steve King IA 202-225-3193
Rep. Luis Gutierrez IL 202-225-7810
Rep. Mike Pence IN 202-225-3382
Rep. William D. Delahunt MA 202-225-5658
Rep. Keith Ellison MN 202-225-4886
Rep. Melvin Watt NC 202-225-1512
Rep. Howard Coble NC 202-225-8611
Rep. Jerrold Nadler NY 202-225-6923
Rep. Anthony Weiner NY 202-226-7253
Rep. Betty Sutton OH 202-225-2266
Rep. Steve Chabot OH 202-225-3012
Rep. Jim Jordan OH 202-226-0577
Rep. Steve Cohen TN 202-225-5663
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee TX 202-225-3317
Rep. Louie Gohmert TX 202-226-1230
Rep. Chris Cannon UT 202-225-5629
Rep. Rick Boucher VA 202-225-0442
Rep. Robert Scott VA 202-225-8354
Rep. Bob Goodlatte VA 202-225-9681
Rep. J. Randy Forbes VA 202-226-1170
Rep. Tammy Baldwin WI 202-225-6942
Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. WI 202-225-3190

Thank you so much for supporting PLoS and Open Access, we know we can rely on you.

Technical requirements for webcasts and video

With 42 organizations (and counting) now signed up to participate in Open Access Day, it’s time for us to confirm the technical specifications for the IT and Systems Administration folks who will also be getting involved in setting up the webcasts and videos.

We have today created a new page specifically to go through the requirements and we’re also running some test sessions so that you can ensure your ducks are in a row before the big day.

We support Open Access – new flyer

We’re excited to present an attractive new flyer called “we support Open Access” that can be printed and displayed at your institution.

This new download features photos and quotes from the 6 stars of the upcoming video series that will be released on Open Access Day, October 14, 2008. It captures the individual perspectives of a Funder, Patient Advocate, Librarian, Physician Scientist, Teacher, and a Student about why they are behind the movement. Share it today.

How can international folks get involved?

Here’s another question that keeps popping up and rightly so.

Open Access is an international movement so folks in Japan, the UK and Europe (to name but a few regions of the world) want to participate but they are finding the timing of the Webcasts (7pm East and West Coast USA) tricky. We chose 7pm because we want students to participate and for that to happen, we have to avoid conflicts with class times.

Firstly, we apologize for this. We had relatively short notice of this project and for reasons of expediency we decided to organize two webcasts this year at times to suit that US, Canadian and South American time zones.

Should other advocacy groups in this or other related fields, wish to organize a Webcast for others in their time zone to gather around, we would like to hear from you.

Here’s what you can to participate, wherever in the world you are based:

Webcasts – will be available for re-broadcast approximately 24 hours after the event (we’ll confirm finally when we know more) and so you could schedule your own Open Access Day the 2nd business day following October 14, 2008.

Folks in the US, who don’t live on either coast (and there are a fair few of you out there!), you can always adjust your event timing and sign on to either coastal event depending on which makes more sense. At PLoS, we’re thinking of holding our San Francisco event at 4pm and timing it with the East Coast Webcast. We have room on our webcast for 100 organizations per event.

Videos – a commissioned series, from a teacher, librarian, research funder, student and patient advocate about why they support open accesss, will be available from October 14, 2008. You could use those as a basis for organizing an event on the day (if you are outside the core time zones for the Webcasts but want to participate on October 14, 2008), and undertake other activities such as an overprice tagging at the library.

Join our discussion list – when you sign up on the contact form, you become eligible to join a forum to share ideas and solve problems with others, this goes live on 9.8.08.