NIH Public Access Policy

What should I do?I recently had several peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts accepted. As an NIH-funded investigator (with an intramural laboratory in the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases), I complied with the NIH Public Access Policy and deposited the articles in NIH PubMed Central. I also included the PubMed Central ID numbers (PMCIDs) in my CV list of scientific publications.

I wanted to take this opportunity to remind other NIH-funded investigators of the public access policy, which also requires the inclusion of PMCIDs in all applications and progress reports, including those for training grants and fellowships. If a PubMed Central submission by a journal is in process and you do not have a PMCID yet, you can indicate “PMC Journal – In Process” at the end of the citation. If you have submitted the manuscript and so far only received an NIH Manuscript Submission System reference number (NIHMSID), NIH will accept it as a placeholder for the PMCID.

One area of confusion is that PMCIDs are not the same as PMIDs assigned by PubMed.

NIH’s frequently asked questions helped guide me through the PubMed Central submission process, and you may find the information there useful, as well.

New Resource to Address Glycoscience Bottlenecks

There are over 750 human enzymes dedicated to glycan synthesis, catabolism and recognition. They include glycosyltrasferases (GTs) and glycoside hydrolases (GHs). While there is tremendous demand for these enzymes in the scientific community, few are available in sufficient quantities for synthetic purposes or for structural/functional studies. Not surprisingly, glyco-enzymes are exceptionally underrepresented in the Protein Data Bank.

To help overcome these bottlenecks, NIGMS is partnering with NIH’s National Center for Research Resources to provide a two-year Recovery Act supplement to the NCRR-sponsored Resource for Integrated Glycotechnology at the University of Georgia. The center will draw additional expertise from investigators at the University of Arizona and University of Wyoming to generate libraries of gateway and expression vectors for glyco-enzymes. The gateway and expression libraries for these enzymes will begin to be made available to the scientific community over the next few months.

The team also will work to express and distribute a subset of these enzymes. Your input for this expression effort is welcome. Please direct inquiries regarding these vectors/enzymes to Kelley Moremen.

This new repository for mammalian GT and GH libraries will speed expansion of the chemical space for carbohydrates as well as speed structural and biochemical studies of these enzymes. The resource should benefit multiple scientific communities and accelerate progress on both the basic biology of the enzymes and their use for development of screening tools (arrays), diagnostics and therapeutics.

The GT and GH expression vectors libraries also may be a useful resource for researchers planning to respond to the upcoming PSI:Biology program announcements mentioned in an earlier post.

Using Social Media

Twitter and Facebook iconsWe launched the Feedback Loop blog about six months ago. What do you think so far? You can e-mail me or share comments about our post topics, frequency, e-mail alerts, general usefulness, etc. I’d also like your thoughts on how we can create more opportunities for you to join the conversation by posting comments.

This blog was our first foray into the new world of social media. Since then, we’ve launched a Twitter feed Exit icon and Facebook page Exit icon to inform the public about NIGMS-funded research advances and our science education materials. NIH is also on Twitter Exit icon and Facebook Exit icon with health-related material for the public as well as a separate Twitter feed for funding opportunities Exit icon.

If you have suggestions for additional ways we could use social or other media tools to keep you informed, please share them with me or on the Feedback Loop.

Noncompeting Grant Awards Under the Continuing Resolution

On October 30, the President signed Public Law 111-88, which includes appropriations for NIH to operate at Fiscal Year 2009 levels through December 18, 2009.

During this period, NIH will make noncompeting research grant awards at reduced levels, typically up to 90% of the previously committed level. This approach is consistent with our practice in previous years.

The policy affects research grants. Research training grants and fellowship awards will not be affected.

NIH anticipates that noncompeting awards will be adjusted upward once the level of the final appropriation has been established.

Research Resources for the Scientific Community

Through initiatives such as “glue” grants, the Protein Structure Initiative, the Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study, the Pharmacogenetics Research Network and in other ways, NIGMS-supported researchers develop resources, information and opportunities of value to broad segments of the scientific community. A list of major NIGMS-funded Web sites and portals is available on our Web site.

I invite you to explore these resources, and I welcome your comments about them.

Stetten Lecturer Illustrates Payoffs of Curiosity-Driven Research

Bonnie BasslerThe DeWitt Stetten, Jr., Lecture is an annual October event that gives us the opportunity to showcase outstanding scientists and their cutting-edge research to the NIH community.

This year’s speaker, Bonnie Bassler, gave an exceptional talk on quorum sensing in bacteria, and I highly encourage you to watch the videocast. Bonnie’s work is yet another illustration of how curiosity-driven research–in this case, into why bioluminescent bacteria only glow at high cell densities–can reveal fundamental biological processes that would have been very difficult to foresee with more directed research approaches. The potential applications of Bonnie’s discoveries include the prevention of dangerous biofilms and the development of new antibiotics and rational probiotics.

Adding to this year’s Stetten Lecture excitement were the Nobel Prizes to past speakers (Elizabeth Blackburn in 1990 and Ada Yonath and Venki Ramakrishnan (along with Peter Moore) in 2000). We’ve previously featured several Nobel laureates as lecturers after they won the prize, but this is the first time the lecture preceded the prizes. We’ll see if the trend continues!