Re: Mandating OA around the corner?

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Fri, 16 Jul 2004 20:40:49 +0100

This is from Peter Suber's Open Access News

Rick Johnson, Director of SPARC, just sent this message to SPARC
members. I blog it here with his permission.

    I want to alert you about an important development. Yesterday the
    U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee approved an
    important provision in connection with the FY 2005 National Institutes
    of Health (NIH) appropriation. The Committee Report accompanying the
    FY 2005 Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations
    Bill recommends that NIH provide free public access to research
    articles resulting from NIH-funded research. The Report calls on
    NIH to offer access to authors' final manuscripts (as accepted for
    journal publication) and supplemental materials via PubMed Central
    six months after publication. If the grantee used NIH funds to pay
    any publication charges (e.g., page or color charges, or fees for
    digital distribution), PMC access would be immediate. The Report
    instructs NIH to inform the Committee by December 1, 2004 how it
    intends to implement the policy.

    This proposal is a reasoned, incremental step that balances the
    interests of taxpayers and publishers. We believe it will enhance
    the nation's return on investment in NIH research and contribute to
    the translation of bench science into clinical practice.

    SPARC and its allies are working to ensure that the proposal is
    endorsed in the Senate. In the coming days I will share with you
    additional information, including steps you can take to demonstrate
    your support.

PS: This is extraordinarily important news. It sensibly focuses on OA
archiving, which leaves authors free to publish in non-OA journals if
they like. It sensibly avoids the mistakes of the Sabo bill, such as
needlessly requiring the public domain rather than open access and
needlessly interfering with patentable discoveries. The NIH is the
largest funder of science in the US federal government, five times
larger than the second-largest funder, the NSF. Expect opposition, and
be prepared to support this proposal through personal and
institutional letters to members of Congress. I'll report further
details as I get them.

Peter Suber
Received on Fri Jul 16 2004 - 20:40:49 BST

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