How the US election will affect open access

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Wed, 8 Nov 2006 15:46:19 +0000

    How the US election will affect open access
    By Peter Suber (Open Access News)

   The big news in the US this morning is the mid-term election that
   gave Democrats control of the House of Representatives. It may also
   have given them the Senate, but we won't know until we've wandered
   for a while in the desert of recounts and lawyers.

   Here are the outcomes of four races that matter for open access.

   1. Joe Lieberman was re-elected Senator from Connecticut. If you
   remember, he was defeated in the Democratic primary by Ned Lamont
   and decided to run as an Independent. Lieberman introduced the
   CURES Act in December 2005 and co-sponsored FRPAA with John Cornyn
   (R-TX) in May 2006, making him the sponsor or co-sponsor of the two
   strongest OA bills ever introduced in Congress. Both CURES and FRPAA
   would mandate OA to publicly-funded research.

   2. Rick Santorum (R-PA) lost his Senate seat from Pennsylvania.
   Santorum is notable for taking money from AccuWeather, the
   weather-forecasting company, to sponsor legislation that would stop the
   National Weather Service from providing open access to publicly-funded
   weather data. Santorum was defeated by Bob Casey, Treasurer for the
   State of Pennsylvania.

   3. Mike DeWine (R-OH) lost his Senate seat from Ohio. DeWine could be
   counted on to carry water for publishers, especially Elsevier, which
   argued that national OA policies would cost jobs in the publishing
   industry. Elsevier owns Ohio-based Lexis-Nexis. DeWine was defeated
   by Sherrod Brown (D-OH), currently in Congress as a Representative from
   Ohio's 13th District. Brown has been a friend of OA, and especially
   the NIH public-access policy, from his position on the House Committee
   on Energy and Commerce, the authorizing committee for the NIH, and his
   position as ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee on Health.

   4. Finally, Ernest Istook (R-OK) gave up his seat in the House to run
   for governor of Oklahoma. He lost that race and is now, at least
   temporarily, out of politics. Istook was OA's best friend on the
   influential House Appropriations Committee and introduced the language
   (July 2004) requiring the NIH to mandate OA to NIH-funded research.
   We often forget that the House language --Istook's language-- demanded
   a mandate even though the NIH eventually adopted a weaker policy.

   That's three for four --a good day for OA. I'll add more about other
   races as I learn more.

   As I reported in July, the House Appropriations Bill for fiscal 2007
   would compel the NIH to strengthen its public-access policy from
   a request to a requirement. The fate of this bill will be decided
   by the current House and Senate, not the new ones. The fiscal year
   started on October 1, so action is past due and we can expect Congress
   to get back to business as soon as the dust settles.

   Peter Suber, Open Access News
Received on Wed Nov 08 2006 - 16:43:55 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:48:35 GMT