Other Omnibus Tidbits … PubMed Central & Peer Review

In addition to budget levels, also of potential interest in the current draft of the omnibus appropriations text for HHS, Education, & Labor are provisions in Sec 218 (p 81): “The Director of the National Institutes of Health shall require that all investigators funded by the NIH submit or have submitted for them to the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication, to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication: Provided, That the NIH shall implement the public access policy in a manner consistent with copyright law.”

and in Sec 215(b) (p 79-80): “PEER REVIEW.-In entering into transactions under subsection (a), the Director of the NIH may utilize such peer review procedures (including consultation with appropriate scientific experts) as the Director determines to be appropriate to obtain assessments of scientific and technical merit. Such procedures shall apply to such transactions in lieu of the peer review and advisory council review procedures that would otherwise be required under sections 301(a)(3), 405(b)(1)(B), 405(b)(2), 406(a)(3)(A), 492, and 494 of the Public Health Service Act.”

What’s in subsection (a)? “AUTHORITY.-Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Director of the National Institutes of Health (in this section referred to as the “Director of NIH”) may use funds available under section 402(b)(7) or 402(b)(12) of the Public Health Service Act to enter into transactions (other than contracts, cooperative agreements, or grants) to carry out research identified pursuant to such section 402(b)(7) (pertaining to the Common Fund) or research and activities described in such section 402(b)(12).”

Update: These tidbits are in the final bill passed by both the Senate and the House. Full text here (search bills for “H.R.2764.EAH”).



  1. PhysioProf said

    This relaxation of ordinary peer review requirements only applies to “transactions (other than contracts, cooperative agreements, or grants) to carry out research”.

    What kind of transactions to carry out research does NIH engage in that are neither contracts, cooperative agreements, or grants?

    PhysioProf, I was counting on folks like you or DM who know everything about everything to clear this up for us … hmm.

  2. drugmonkey said

    “everything about everything?” ahh, you slay me writedit.

    My assumption is that there did not previously exist a mechanism for the Director to just spend big bucks on whatever he wanted to, executive style, without the legislative process of peer review. Now he has that power.

    Is anyone really surprised at moves to expand executive power anymore?

    Nope. A $25 million slush fund is pretty sweet though (plus $10K for office parties!).

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