Introduced on December 7th by Senators Joe Lieberman (D-CT) and Thad Cochran (R-MS), the bipartisan Cures Bill would expedite development of new therapies and cures for life-threatening diseases. Among the requirements of the bill is the establishment of free public access to articles stemming from research funded by agencies of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), including NIH, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
"The Cures Bill is exactly the medicine that's needed," said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) and a leader of the ATA. "It goes right to the heart of the case for unfettered access to publicly funded research. Senators Lieberman and Cochran took a close look at how best to speed development of treatments for diseases. Among their conclusions is that it's time we ensure the research we're already conducting is available to all potential users."
Pat Furlong, executive director of Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy and an ATA member, was also pleased with the bill. "It recognizes how important the sharing of information is to speeding research and translating new knowledge into cures," said Furlong. "In the age of the Internet, it makes no sense for the results of taxpayer-funded research to be hidden away."
The bill calls for DHHS-funded research to be made available in NIH's popular PubMed Central online digital archive within four months of publication in a peer-reviewed journal. The NIH already has a policy that asks its investigators to deposit their manuscripts in PubMed Central, but the policy
Contact: Jennifer Heffelfinger