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Public Access to Taxpayer-Funded Research Strengthens Biomedical Research

Updated April 2017
Prepared by the Joint MLA/AAHSL Joint Legislative Task Force
For further information, contact Mary M. Langman at 312.419.9094 x27
Click here for PDF version

The Medical Library Association (MLA) and Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL) support legislative and federal initiatives that increase public access to the results of federally funded research. Such initiatives facilitate scientific collaboration, strengthen biomedical research, accelerate innovation, and support better patient care. The 2013 Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) memorandum, “Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research,” furthers these objectives. The OSTP’s directive requires federal agencies with $100 million in the annual conduct of research and development expenditures to develop plans to support increased public access to the results of research funded by the federal government.

PubMedGov-W300.pngCompletion of department and agency public access plans means that researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs, educators, and the general public will have greater access to publications and data resulting from federally funded research. MLA and AAHSL are pleased that today 22 federal departments and agencies accounting for more than 99% of US federal research and development expenditures now have public access plans in place. Eleven of these agencies have agreed to use the National Library of Medicine’s (NLM’s) PubMed Central (PMC) to support their public access policies:

  • PMC-W300.pngDepartment of Commerce National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
  • Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Administration for Community Living (ACL)
  • HHS Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
  • HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR)
  • HHS Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • HHS Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
  • Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)

NLM’s experience in operating PMC, developing related tools, and engaging the health sciences library community in outreach will be essential to effectively and efficiently implement federal-wide policies and improve compliance.

With more than 4.2 million full-text articles and more than 1.4 million users per day, PMC has become a valuable tool for accessing the biomedical research literature. The following graphs illustrate the continued growth in numbers of data for PMC articles that were available and retrieved by month between January 2012 and December 2016, and the number of PMC users and PMC articles retrieved per day during November 2016.


The Medical Library Association (MLA) is a nonprofit, educational organization with 3,500 health sciences information professional members worldwide. Founded in 1898, MLA provides lifelong educational opportunities, supports a knowledgebase of health information research, and works with a global network of partners to promote the importance of quality information for improved health to the health care community and the public.

The Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL) supports academic health sciences libraries and directors in advancing the patient care, research, education, and community service missions of academic health centers through visionary executive leadership and expertise in health information, scholarly communication, and knowledge management.