2007: Letter to Senators Susan Collins and Joe Lieberman on Public Access Act

February 16, 2007

Senator Susan Collins
461 Dirksen Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510

Senator Joseph Lieberman
706 Hart Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senators,

The undersigned organizations are writing to express their support for the Federal
Research Public Access Act and to urge the Senate Committee on Homeland Security
and Government Affairs to act quickly to approve this important legislation when it is
reintroduced in the 110th Congress. This groundbreaking bill is intended to promote the
crucial dissemination of scientific knowledge by taking advantage of new opportunities
presented by the Internet. The Act would require that most peer-reviewed publications of
scientific research supported by federal tax dollars be made available online to the public
free of charge within six months of initial publication.

The dissemination of scientific, and especially medical, research findings is integral
to achieving advances that have the potential to save and improve countless lives. The
Internet now provides an unprecedented opportunity to amplify the rewards of medical
research by making it more widely and easily available than ever before. Greater access
to scientific findings helps scientists build on cutting edge research and match pressing
challenges with available expertise, accelerating innovation that provides treatments and

It is also critically important to expand access to medical research findings for
patients, their loved ones, and their physicians. Peer-reviewed medical papers already
available online are of great benefit to doctors in informing treatment decisions and
providing patients and their loved ones with invaluable tools that better inform and
empower them. However, too few papers are now readily available to the public online,
including the majority of papers supported with taxpayer funding. Many online scientific
papers require expensive subscriptions or appear in rare journals that even most scientists
cannot access while others are not placed online at all. Congress should ensure that the
public reaps the full value of its investment in science by making publicly funded
scientific publications easily available to scientists, medical researchers, physicians,
students and patients.

As organizations concerned with public health and a fair return on public
investment in the creation of knowledge, we urge the 110th Congress to take the next step
and pass this important legislation. We are pleased to be part of a broad coalition,
including hundreds of consumers, academics, librarians, students and many other
stakeholders that have expressed their support for the Public Access Act, in order to
ensure barrier-free access to taxpayer-funded research (see:

If you have questions or would like to discuss this matter further, please contact
Ben Krohmal of Knowledge Ecology International at (202) 332 2670.


AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition
Alliance for Human Research Protection
American Medical Student Association
Arthritis Foundation
Autism Speaks
Colorectal Cancer Coalition
Center for International Environmental Law
Center for Science in the Public Interest
Chemical Sensitivity Disorders Association
Coalition of Heritable Disorders of Connective Tissue
Community Catalyst
Christopher Reeve Foundation
Connecticut Legal Services
Consumer Federation of America
Consumer Union
Essential Action
Families USA
Genetic Alliance
Genetic Alliance BioBank
Harm Reduction Coalition
Health GAP (Global Access Project)
International Mosaic Down Syndrome Association
Knowledge Ecology International
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
National Tay Sachs and Allied Diseases Association
Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy People’s Health Movement- USA
PXE International
Universities Allied for Essential Medicine
William E. Morris Institute for Justice

In the spirit of open and collaborative science that transcends national borders, the following non-US based groups also add their support:

Consumer Association for Quality of Life (EKPIZO)
Consumers’ Protection Center (KEPKA)
Health Action International – Europe
Healthy Skepticism Inc
Insulin Dependant Diabetes Trust
International Society of Drug Bulletins
Korean Pharmacists for Democratic Society
Wemos Foundation
Zimbabwe AIDS Prevention Project (ZAPP)