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RE: Sabo Bill: Measure Calls for Wider Access to Federally Financed Research

Thanks for making those points about who has access and who has not,
Scott.  However, I believe that if these hospitals band together for group
purchase or even develop a single digital library to serve the group, that
the various "widow's mites" can be put together to purchase a decent
library, particularly if they can work with an existing medical library.  
It is one of my objectives to do exactly that in the Michigan Community
Health Electronic Library (www.mchel.org) for libraries in Michigan.  In
this particular case, we're starting with the library of the public health
department and expanding from there (working with the Michigan Health
Sciences Library Association, which pretty much represents the larger
hospitals).  Having lived in a rural area, I know what's available and
what's not and believe it's a public health imperative that the playing
field be leveled.  My ultimate goal to is to have as good a health library
available in Escanaba as in Ann Arbor.

Harvey Brenneise
Michigan Public Health Institute

Frankly, we once were literally captive of the publishers to distribute
research because of the limits of technology.  Those limits have now been
lifted.  The publishers have been quick to take advantage of technology,
but we have been slower to take advantage of being able to disintermediate
them from the process.  Of course, we also have the risk of being
disintermediated ourselves.  Time will tell.  I know in my particular case
I'm suggesting the establisment of a Michigan Journal of Public Health,
something that we could only dream of in the past.  Assuming we can find
authors and editors, the rest, really, is a piece of cake.

-----Original Message-----
From: T Scott Plutchak [mailto:tscott@uab.edu]
Sent: Saturday, June 28, 2003 9:15 AM
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Subject: RE: Sabo Bill: Measure Calls for Wider Access to Federally
Financed Research 

Depends on what you mean by "available".  A couple of months ago I had
some correspondence with the chief of staff of a small rural hospital in
western Alabama who is trying to figure out how he and his colleagues can
get access to the latest clinical research.  His hospital is hanging by a
thread financially (as is the case with most hospitals and clinics in
rural America), so subscribing to or licensing everything that he needs is
out of the question.  He has a hard time understanding why, if he's paying
for this research in the first place with his tax dollars, he can't
readily access the results of that research.  I can supply him with copies
of articles through interlibrary loan at $11/each (well, I can in those
cases where the terms of the license don't prevent me from doing that),
once he's figured out exactly what articles he wants to see.  But this is
a miserably inefficient way for him to try to keep up.

This scenario is repeated in every small hospital, clinic and doctor's
office in rural America and in much of the inner city.  Don't tell these
health care practioners that this stuff is "already available" and that
their concern for giving their patients the best care possibile is a
"tempest in a teapot."

T. Scott Plutchak
Director, Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences
University of Alabama at Birmingham