Urgent call to action: Defend the NIH Public Access Policy

We’ve learned that the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property is planning on holding a hearing in September on the NIH Public Access Policy and the publishing lobby’s allegations that the policy conflicts with copyright. We understand that they are also planning to introduce legislation designed to overturn the current policy.

It is critical that members of this Subcommittee and others hear from constituents who support the NIH Public Access Policy as soon as possible, so that they may understand the depth and breadth of the community that supports public access. Many of these Subcommittee Members will only have heard about possible copyright concerns, and may be completely unaware of the importance of this policy for both the public’s health and the public’s right to access the results of research their tax dollars have funded.

We urgently need to communicate that the NIH policy is a crucial health information policy broadly supported by all stakeholder groups and that it has no effect on U.S. copyright law.

**Please review the list of members below to see if your Representative is included, and contact him or her as soon as possible and NO LATER than end of day Tuesday, September 9th.**

It is also critical to send a copy of your letter to the House Judiciary Committee leadership, to ensure that they also understand the depth of community engagement on this issue. Contact information for these Members is included below.

Faxes and phone calls from individuals and organizations are encouraged. National patient organizations are asked to please send a copy of your letter to the full committee.

Please adapt for your use and personalize as much as possible:

• I write to express [my/our] continued, firm support for the National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy, which ensures that critical biomedical research is made readily accessible to those who need it.

• Please provide a few sentences of detail why public access matters to you/your institution… Personal stories matter, and are very effective!

• Our tax dollars underwrite this research, and we (and our health care providers) have a right to access the results of this critical biomedical information. Ensuring timely, free access to health-related information is crucial to empowering patients and in ensuring that they are as educated as possible about conditions affecting themselves and their families.

• When a patient is diagnosed with a serious condition, their first response is often to try and locate as out as much information on the illness as quickly as possible, and the Internet is usually the first place they turn. They expect that this will include the very latest results generated by a public agency such as the National Institutes of Health –but up until the NIH Public Access Policy was enacted, this was not the case.

• The traditional system for sharing research results is fundamentally imbalanced, restricting access to research – funded by tax dollars – to the institutions that can afford access. Individuals must pay fees just to find out if an article is relevant to their research. The NIH policy begins to restore balance to this system, by beginning to unlock the billions of dollars in research funded by the taxpayers each year, and make it available to the scientists, researchers, doctors, patients, and taxpayers who need it.

• The NIH Public Access Policy is staunchly supported by [me/our community] for helping to address this imbalance, and to create the opportunity for all communities to access this publicly funded information in an equitable, timely and affordable manner.

• ESSENTIAL FOR EVERYONE TO INCLUDE: Some have made claims that the NIH public access policy is in conflict with copyright law. This is not the case – the policy affects only the conditions of the grant agreement between the NIH and the recipient of funds. It is a matter of contract terms, not copyright terms.

• This contract condition serves the interests of the public, which funded the research, and of NIH, which depends on awareness of and application of its research findings to drive medical advances to improve public health.

• We fully support the NIH Public Access Policy and firmly oppose any attempt to overturn or weaken it. The advancement of this policy has [life and death, crucial health-care… please use term you are comfortable with] significance for patients and all Americans.

Contact Information:

Name, Party, Fax number, Phone


Rep. Howard L. Berman, D-CA,202-225-3196,202-225-4695

Rep. Brad Sherman, D-CA,202-225-5879,202-225-5911

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-CA,202-225-5828,202-225-4176

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-CA,202-225-3303,202-225-3906

Rep. Elton Gallegly, R-CA,202-225-1100,202-225-5811

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-CA,202-225-7854,202-225-2201

Rep. Linda Sánchez, D-CA,202-226-1012,202-225-2965

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-CA,202-225-3336 ,202-225-3072


Rep. Robert Wexler, D-FL,202-225-5974,202-225-3001

Rep. Ric Keller, R-FL,202-225-0999,202-225-2176

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-FL,202-226-2052,202-225-7931

Rep. Tom Feeney, R-FL,202-226-6299 ,202-225-2706


Rep. Hank Johnson, D-GA,202-226-0691,202-225-1605


Rep. Mike Pence, R-IN,202-225-3382,202-225-3021


Rep. John Conyers, Jr., D-MI,202-225-0072,202-225-5126

North Carolina

Rep. Melvin L. Watt, D-NC,202-225-1512,202-225-1510

Rep. Howard Coble, R-NC,202-225-8611,202-225-3065

New York

Rep. Anthony D. Weiner, D-NY,202-226-7253,202-225-6616


Rep. Steve Chabot, R-OH,202-225-3012,202-225-2216

Rep. Betty Sutton, D-OH,202-225-2266 ,202-225-3401


Rep. Steve Cohen, D-TN,202-225-5663,202-225-3265


Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-TX,202-225-3317,202-225-3816

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-TX,202-225-8628,202-225-4236


Rep. Chris Cannon, R-UT,202-225-5629,202-225-7751


Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-VA,202-225-9681,202-225-5431

Rep. Rick Boucher, D-VA,202-225-0442 ,202-225-3861


Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., R-WI,202-225-3190,202-225-5101

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This is the subcommittee list, right? I'm not a constituent of any of them. I'll send a letter to Conyers, at least he's from my state.

You mention also sending letters to the full committe's leadership. Who is that? Conyers is the chair, I believe. Who else should a copy go to?

Thank you! The list provided above is the House Judiciary Sub-committee on Courts.
below are leadership for the House Judiciary Committee and the House Judiciary Subcommitte on Courts.

Rep. Howard L. Berman, D-CA,202-225-3196,202-225-4695 is the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts- Chairman

Rep. Howard Coble, R-NC,202-225-8611,202-225-3065 - is the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts- Ranking Member

Rep. John Conyers, Jr., D-MI,202-225-0072,202-225-5126 is the House Judiciary Committee's - Chairman

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-TX,202-225-8628,202-225-4236 is the House Judiciary Committee's Ranking member

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