Public databases like PubMed provide abstracts and citations but the full text of many studies are locked behind pay-walls. For research funded by NIH tax dollars for FY 2009, and after, publishers have 12 months to deposit peer-reviewed works into PMC (formerly PubMed Central). Policy notes are here.
Here’s a citation of an article in PMC:
Chang, Harry et al. “Medicare and Medicaid Enrollment and Outside Hospitalizations Among HIV-Infected and Uninfected Veterans Engaged in VA Care: a Retrospective Cohort Study.” BMC Health Services Research 15 (2015): 27. PMC. Web. 20 Feb. 2015.
I’ve emailed NIH to see how I can read public domain articles. There’s a brand new article cited in PUBMED that I would like to read but can’t: Prevalence and Treatment of Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection in the US Department of Veterans Affairs.
It states, “This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US.” That means it is owned by the U. S. public--us!
Yet this article is locked behind a paywall by Oxford Publishing (Epidemiol Rev. 2015;37(1):131-43. doi: 10.1093/epirev/mxu002. Epub 2015 Jan 19.).
To read this article tonight , I would have to pay Oxford $39.00 for 1-day access (pay-per-view). I hope this is a just a mistake. I’ll let you know what I find out because up-to-date quality VA research can help win VA benefits claims and cannot be rejected by the VA as “Internet junk,” a problem some veterans have reported. After all, it’s from their own medical staff and researchers! Not having free access to this information puts veterans at a large disadvantage to those with reading privileges.
Update: The author of the HCV research, Lauren Beste, has kindly emailed the paper to me (below) so I am grateful for that. Lauren works at Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System. The VA has some wonderful medical researchers on board and they want us to read the fruits of their hard work.
Also an ASKNOD reader with access to the article via an academic site has helped us with this. I haven’t heard back from NIH. As the saying goes, “Information wants to be free.”