Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, October 22, 2007

Inhofe's amendments to undermine the OA mandate at NIH

Charles Bailey, Text of the Inhofe Amendments That Affect the NIH Open Access Mandate, DigitalKoans, October 22, 2007.

Below is the text of Sen. James Inhofe's amendments to the FY 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill that affect the NIH open access mandate (thanks to Heather Joseph at SPARC).

Amendment 3416:

To strike provision to maintain the NIH voluntary research public access policy

Beginning on page 76 strike line 24 and all that follows through line 7 on page 77.

Amendment 3417:

To modify provisions to maintain the NIH voluntary research public access policy

On page 77 line 7 insert before the period the following:

'and in addition only where allowed by and in accordance with the policies of the publishers who have conducted the peer review and accepted the manuscripts for publication'

Here's the affected section of the bill:

Page 76

24 SEC. 221. The Director of the National Institutes of
25 Health shall require that all investigators funded by the

Page 77

1 NIH submit or have submitted for them to the National
2 Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central an electronic
3 version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts upon ac-
4 ceptance for publication to be made publicly available no
5 later than 12 months after the official date of publication:
6 Provided, That the NIH shall implement the public access
7 policy in a manner consistent with copyright law.

Comment.  Note precisely how the second of these two amendments would weaken the OA provision:  the OA mandate would apply "only where allowed by and in accordance with the policies of the publishers...."  If that sounds familiar, the reason is that it's nearly identical to the loophole in the OA mandate adopted last month by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).  The CIHR policy mandates OA for CIHR-funded research "where allowable and in accordance with publisher policies...."  Here's what I said about the loophole in the CIHR policy at the time:

The exception swallows the rule.  Any publisher who doesn't want OA within six [or 12] months, or ever, can easily block it, and CIHR invites them to do so....

Publishers clearly agree and want the same easy opt-out from the NIH policy.