On July 29, Autism Speaks Vice President of Research, Sophia Colamarino, Ph.D., testified to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform regarding the importance of free and open access to publically-funded research literature. Dr. Colamarino was the architect of Autism Speaks pioneering open-access policy. This policy, which took effect for grants awarded after December 3, 2008, requires that researchers receiving grant funding from Autism Speaks make a copy of any article resulting from that funding freely accessible in a public database no later than 12 months after publication. This will allow all potential users – scientists, clinicians, businesses, educators and families – to ultimately have first-hand access to research articles that are typically only available through fee-based journals. Autism Speaks believes that it is possible to accelerate the pace of discovery, and that open sharing of scientific research is both urgently needed and entirely practical in the internet age.
Autism Speaks is the first U.S.-based non-profit advocacy organization to adopt such a policy. Along with Dr. Colamarino, other witnesses called to testify in favor of greater public access to peer-reviewed research literature included the Nobel Prize-winning scientist Richard Roberts, Ph.D., and the Director of the National Institutes of Health’ National Center for Biotechnology Information, David Lipman, M.D.