March-in Rights: A Lost Opportunity To Lower US Drug Prices – Intellectual Property Watch

“It appears not just unfair, but absurdly so. The US government paid for research that produced a patented drug, the patents were licensed exclusively to a Japanese firm, and that firm is now committing price discrimination against the US. Astellas Pharma is selling its anti-prostate cancer drug, Xtandi, for over $129,000 per year per patient in the United States – triple the price of the drug in Japan. Alas, this situation is not unusual. Many drugs that were financed by US taxpayers are sold in the US at exorbitant prices, but are much cheaper in other high-income industrialized nations. This differential price problem could be solved easily. However, the US government has consistently refused to exercise its march-in rights in order to lower drug prices….”

Passing a Campus Open Access Policy – OpenCon

“On March 31, Florida Gulf Coast University’s (FGCU) Faculty Senate passed an Open Access policy! The Open Access Archiving Policy ensures that future scholarly articles authored by FGCU faculty will be made freely available to the public by requiring faculty to deposit copies of their accepted manuscripts in the university’s repository, DigitalFGCU.”

A House Committee Doesn’t Want You To See Its Correspondence With Government Officials – BuzzFeed News

“The chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services sent a letter last month to the head of the Treasury Department instructing him to decline Freedom of Information requests relating to communications between the two offices, a letter that open records advocates called “deeply troubling.” …”

The OPEN Government Data Act: What’s at Stake?

“Buried under the headline news of the day is the continuing story of transparency in government, including the movement to open the government’s data. The latest thread in this story is taking place in the United States Congress where the fate of the recently reintroduced Open, Public, Electronic and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act is under consideration, with minimal attention from the press. The goal of this bill is to make data from federal agencies freely and publicly available to anyone, in a variety of user-friendly formats. A topic that may seem irrelevant to most Americans’ daily lives, unleashing government data to the public, possesses a largely untapped transformative power with implications for government, industry, and society. If passed, the bill might help improve government operations, spur innovation in the private sector, and improve the well-being of ordinary citizens.


Making open data publication a routine government activity is essential for making open data programs successful.[9] Health Data NY, the first state open data portal devoted to health, started as a small website with five datasets. It gained traction after Governor Andrew Cuomo issued Executive Order 95, which (1) required that all state agencies publish their data to the centralized Open NY portal; (2) called for the development of an Open Data Handbook to provide a vision and establish standards and governance; and (3) created the new role of chief information officer, among other actions. Health Data NY was also codified as a routine public health activity by making it a permanent part of the New York State Department of Health’s Office of Quality and Patient Safety and assigning dedicated staff to it. These changes at the policy and programmatic levels have allowed Health Data NY to become a national leader in making government health data easily accessible and maintain its visibility after the program’s founding health commissioner left state service in 2013.”

Text mining: ©, CC-BY or CC-0? (with tweets) · cshperspectives · Storify

A Twitter dialog between Richard Sever and John Wilbanks on whether text mining requires CC-BY, or any other particular open license, or whether it merely requires access to the text and the existing principle (of US copyright law) protecting the extraction of uncopyrightable facts from copyrighted texts. Wilbanks asserts the latter.

National Library of Medicine Announces Departure of NCBI Director Dr. David Lipman

“The National Library of Medicine today announced the departure of David J. Lipman, MD, who has served as the Director of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) since its creation almost 30 years ago….

NCBI creates and maintains a series of databases relevant to biotechnology and biomedicine, and is a world-renowned and trusted resource for bioinformatics tools and services. Major NCBI databases include GenBank for DNA sequences and PubMed, one of the most heavily used sites in the world for the search and retrieval of biomedical information.

 “It’s hard to think of anyone at NIH who has had a greater impact on the way research is conducted around the world than David Lipman,” noted NLM Director Patricia Flatley Brennan, RN, PhD. “Under his visionary leadership, NCBI has greatly improved access to biomedical information and genomic data for scientists, health professionals, and the public worldwide—something we now practically take for granted.”…Dr. Lipman has been an advocate for promoting open access to the world’s biomedical literature and launched PubMed in 1997, followed by the full-text repository, PubMed Central (PMC), in 2000.   He was instrumental in implementing the NIH Public Access Policy whereby NIH-funded papers are made publicly available in PMC….”

Letter: Expand public access to Congressional Research Service reports

[Apparently this letter was taken offline soon after it was posted. This is the version in the Google cache.] 

“Dear Chairman Harper, Chairman Shelby, Chairman Yoder, Chairman Lankford, Ranking Member Brady, Ranking Member Klobuchar, Ranking Member Ryan, and Ranking Member Murphy:

We write in support of expanded public access to Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports. Longstanding congressional policy allows Members and committees to use their websites to disseminate CRS products to the public, although CRS itself may not engage in direct public dissemination. This results in a disheartening inequity: insiders with Capitol Hill connections can easily obtain CRS reports from any of the 20,000 congressional staffers and well-resourced groups can pay for access from subscription services. However, members of the public can access only a small subset of CRS reports that are intermittently posted on an assortment of not-for-profit websites. Now is the time for a systematic solution that provides timely, comprehensive free public access to and preservation of non-confidential reports while protecting confidential communications between CRS and Members and committees of Congress.

CRS reports—not to be confused with confidential CRS memoranda and other products—play a critical role in our legislative process by informing lawmakers and staff about the important issues of the day. The public should have the same access to information. …

Taxpayers provide more than $100 million annually in support of CRS, and yet members of the public often must look to private companies for consistent access to CRS reports. Some citizens are priced out of these services, resulting in inequitable access to information about government activity that is produced at public expense….”

[Signed by 42 organizations and 47 individuals.]

A new game puts the public into public radio archives – Poynter

“[A] new game has launched that not only develops public awareness of public broadcasting archives, but actually deepens the public’s relationship with material in the archive.

The game, called Fix It, was launched by the American Archive of Public Broadcasting, a collaboration between the Library of Congress and the WGBH Educational Foundation. It asks the public for help in identifying and correcting errors in public media transcripts — which improves both the searchability and accessibility of archival material from the collection….”

Gardner, Peters Introduce Bill to Keep Government Research Data Publically Available

“U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Gary Peters (D-MI) today introduced bipartisan legislation to help federal agencies maintain open access to machine-readable databases and datasets created by taxpayer-funded research. The Preserving Data in Government Act would require federal agencies to preserve public access to existing open datasets, and prevent the removal of existing datasets without sufficient public notice. Small businesses rely on a range of publically available machine-readable datasets to launch or grow their companies, and researchers and scientists use data to conduct studies for a variety of fields and industries….”