Washington, DC - June 23, 2008 - The Partnership for Public Service, a Washington, DC-based non-profit group that aims to "revitalize the federal government by inspiring a new generation to serve and transforming the way government works," has announced that Dr. David Lipman, leader of the team that created the PubMed Central online archive of biomedical research, is among three finalists for the 2008 Service to America Medal in the Citizen Services category.
The prestigious Service to America awards honor excellence in the federal workforce, recognizing "outstanding federal workers who are making high-impact contributions critical to the safety, health and well-being of Americans." The Citizen Services category spotlights a federal employee for "a significant contribution to the nation in activities related to social services."
Dr. Lipman, Director of the National Center for Biotechnology Information of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), is being honored for leading the development of the groundbreaking PubMed Central database, which enhances biomedical research in ways that accelerate scientific discovery and increase public knowledge.
PubMed Central (www.pubmedcentral.gov) is an online digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature that is available free on the Internet and heavily used by scientists and the public alike. Currently containing over 1.7 million articles relating to clinical and basic research - and growing rapidly as a result of recent legislation requiring researchers to deposit their NIH-supported work there - PubMed Central is interconnected with other biomedical and life science databases and is a crucial link in NIH's efforts to speed discovery of new medical treatments and put high-quality information in the hands of doctors and patients.
"Perhaps the greatest testament to the value of this resource is the phenomenal amount of traffic it has attracted," according to the Partnership for Public Service profile of Dr. Lipman. "Each day, users retrieve about 650,000 articles, making it one of the most important sites in the world for finding quality biomedical information. Dr. Lipman has allowed scientists, physicians, patients, advocates, students, teachers, journalists and others to access information that affects their lives and work. This work has enhanced collaboration and, as a result, is revolutionizing scientific research and speeding the translation of existing knowledge into new breakthroughs."
Proponents of free public access to NIH-funded research findings hailed the selection of Dr. Lipman. "The Award Committee's recognition of Dr. Lipman is a potent reminder of the high value the American public places in being able to access and use the product of their collective investment in research," said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) and administrator of the Alliance for Taxpayer Access. "Dr. Lipman, the PubMed Central team, and the NIH have made a critical contribution to advancing the public good with the creation of PubMed Central."
Sharon Terry, President and CEO of Genetic Alliance, adds, "Dr. Lipman is a visionary leader in the age of networked information. He was way out ahead in developing PubMed Central. His contribution is a living resource of public information that catalyzes the research and services needed to save lives."
Dr. Lipman, who received his undergraduate degree from Brown University and his M.D. in 1980 from the State University of New York at Buffalo, is a widely respected figure in bioinformatics. He was one of the originators of the Influenza Genome Sequencing Project, a project to sequence and make available the genomes of thousands of influenza virus isolates, and was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2008 and to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2005. He was awarded the Senior Scientist Accomplishment Award from the International Society for Computational Biology in 2004 and the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities Award for Outstanding Contributions to Biomolecular Technologies in 1996.
The finalists for the 2008 Service to America Medals were chosen from nearly 500 nominations recognizing work at two-dozen federal agencies. The award selection committee includes leaders from government, business, the foundation and nonprofit community, academia, entertainment, and the media. Medal winners in nine categories will be announced in the fall.
The Alliance for Taxpayer Access is a coalition of patient, academic, research, and publishing entities that support open public access to the results of federally funded research. The Alliance was formed in 2004 to urge that peer-reviewed articles on taxpayer-funded research at the U.S. National Institutes of Health become fully accessible and available online at no extra cost to the American public. Details on the ATA may be found at http://www.