This post is intended to keep subscribers apprised of a smaller and unsurprising (at one level) development, if only because we seem to be entering a blow-by-blow phase of interactions with the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) over having a lobbying employee involved in various activities, including serving on a Search Committee.
Yesterday, I wrote about an odd exchange with a representative of the NLM who emails from the account NLM Communications. This exchange involved me relaying information I’d found via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request showing Heather Joseph, who runs SPARC, was placed on the Search Committee for the new NCBI Director.
The issue is an employee of a lobbying firm serving on a US government Search Committee, and potentially blocking or elevating individuals based on lobbying priorities.
In an interview in January, Joseph explained she was an employee of the New Venture Fund (NVF), a registered lobbying firm.
NLM Communications responded to my request for clarification as follows (image same as yesterday’s):
I contacted Bodner twice, but received no reply until late morning yesterday, when Bodner replied with this:
This confirms that Joseph is currently an employee of NVF. This is unsurprising, as Joseph herself explained this in January to Richard Poynder.
I’ve shared this information with the NLM, as well as a link to NVF’s page on Open Secrets, and have requested that they confirm Joseph’s status relative to the NCBI Director Search Committee in reply.
Updates as appropriate.