ATD Blog

Public-Private Partnerships Are a Win-Win-Win

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Public-private partnerships abound at all levels of government—federal, state, and local. They touch virtually every aspect of our society, from the environment to space travel, transportation to housing, security to health and human services, and many more. Much like  interagency collaborations, the best public-private partnerships are:

  • conceived thoughtfully and in accordance with established rules and regulations
  • developed carefully and in mutually supportive ways
  • pursued to yield outcomes that help each partner achieve its missions and, ultimately, serve the public more effectively.

The Opportunity

The Wellcome Trust exists to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas to thrive. It is a global charitable foundation, both politically and financially independent. The trust supports scientists and researchers, takes on big problems, fuels imaginations, and sparks debate. It has been a long-standing advocate of open access to research outputs and a supporter of projects to increase access to historical biomedical literature through digitization. 


The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is the world's largest biomedical library and one of the 27 institutes and centers that constitute the National Institutes of Health of the Department of Health and Human Services. The library is a leader in the application of computer and communications technology to the advancement of health and improvement of the human condition. The NLM has long supported the design and implementation of the National Institutes of Health's public access policy, to the end of advancing science and improving human health. 


Over the past dozen years, the Wellcome Trust and NLM have partnered to expand public access to historical journal literature in one of the world's largest free and full-text digital archives, the National Institutes of Health life sciences repository known as PubMed Central (PMC). This collaboration has enabled a generation of researchers today, and generations to follow, to have ready access to a deep and detailed record of human experience in medicine.

Check out the full Agency Application article in the December issue of The Public Manager to learn how through public-private partnerships, government agencies and outside organizations like NLM and the Wellcome Trust can serve citizens together.


About the Author

Jeffrey S. Reznick is the chief of the History of Medicine Division of the National Library of Medicine.

About the Author

Simon Chaplin is the director of Culture and Society at the Wellcome Library of the Wellcome Trust.

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