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STM comments on U. S. National Institutes of Health Unfunded Mandate


STM comments on U. S. National Institutes of Health Unfunded Mandate

OXFORD, UK, 4 JANUARY 2008 - STM today expressed disappointment 
with the recent passage of legislation in the United States. This 
legislation (the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2007 (H.R. 
2764)) includes provisions directing the National Institutes of 
Health to mandate that investigators who are supported by grants 
from the National Institutes of Health must deposit their 
manuscripts directly into the National Library of Medicine's 
PubMed Central database no later than 12 months after the 
official date of publication.

The legislation neither provides compensation for the added-value 
of services that these manuscripts have received from publishers 
nor does it earmark funds to ensure the economic sustainability 
of the broad and systematic archiving this sort of project 
requires. It also undermines a key intellectual property right 
known as copyright - long a cornerstone used to foster creativity 
and innovation.

STM believes that this legislation establishes an unfunded 
government mandate with an unknown impact on the advancement of 
science and puts at risk a system which has enabled more research 
to be available to more scientists in more countries than at any 
point in the history of science.

STM CEO Michael Mabe commented, "Other governmental bodies, such 
as the European Commission, have recognized the unique role and 
extensive investments made by scientific publishers in the 
organization of peer review, the management of publication 
processes, the production, access, distribution, preservation and 
digitization of scientific knowledge. They have called for an 
evidence-based approach toward questions like the broad and 
systematic archiving of scientific manuscripts to ensure that the 
current system of scientific publishing is not destabilized 
without reason. Regrettably, neither the acknowledgement of the 
key role that publishers play in the advancement of science, nor 
the commitment toward an evidence-based approach, nor the funding 
to support this broad mandate seems present in the current U.S. 

Mabe continued:  "STM publishers will, of course, comply with the 
laws of the nations in which they operate. At the same time, in 
order to fulfill their primary mission of maximizing the 
dissemination of knowledge through economically self-sustaining 
business models, they will continue a vigorous engagement with 
appropriate stakeholders on issues such as this where legislative 
change seems necessary or desirable."


STM is an international association of about 100 scientific, 
technical, medical and scholarly publishers, collectively 
responsible for more than 60% of the global annual output of 
research articles, 55% of the active research journals and the 
publication of tens of thousands of print and electronic books, 
reference works and databases. We are the only international 
trade association equally representing all types of STM 
publishers - large and small companies, not for profit 
organizations, learned societies, traditional, primary, secondary 
publishers and new entrants to global publishing.

For further information, please contact:

Michael Mabe, STM
email mabe@stm-assoc.org or
phone +44 1865 339321

Janice E. Kuta
Director of Marketing & Membership
International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers
E-mail: kuta@stm-assoc.org
Tel: 212-533-0832=20
Fax: 212-420-8407