Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

OA mandate for NIH clears another hurdle

Over the weekend I and many others spread the word that the House of Representatives would vote Tuesday, July 17, on the appropriations bill establishing an OA mandate at the NIH.  Here's an update.

The bill did move to the House floor on Tuesday (yesterday).  But the bill must be read aloud before the vote and it's a large bill, containing appropriations for all the agencies and programs in three federal departments (Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education).  The reading started yesterday and continues today.  It's proceeding as I write.  It may end later today or it may not end until tomorrow.

The last chance to offer an amendment on a given section is the moment when that section comes up in the reading.  The section creating the OA mandate (§217) was just read a few minutes ago.  The amendment window opened briefly and then closed.  No amendments were offered.

We've cleared a major hurdle.  Publisher organizations have been unusually intense and well-organized in lobbying to amend or strike this language.  They may have had some House members on their side but, if so, they retreated and the strong language survived intact.

This victory reflects the groundswell of public support for OA at the NIH.  House members definitely heard the message.  For all of you who contacted your representative and urged others to do so, thank you.

We still await the House vote, which should come later today or tomorrow, and then the Senate vote, which is still unscheduled.  Then we'll need a Presidential signature.