NIH Open-Access Policy Celebrates 1st Birthday — Will It Make 2nd?

April 8, 2009

Should the public be able to read articles giving the results of taxpayer-funded research? Many journalists who rely on this research for articles on environmental health think so — and were glad when the National Institutes of Health set a policy a year ago requiring the research articles to be posted online.There is evidence that the NIH system does indeed benefit the public — at least a lot more of the research is going into the NIH's online PubMed database, reaching 4,500 articles in January 2009 alone.

But the policy could be reversed by a bill (HR 801) introduced by Rep. John Conyers, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

The Society of Environmental Journalists has opposed HR 801.