Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

NIH policy one of Top 8 science policy stories of 2008

Rick Weiss, The Top Eight Science Policy News Stories of 2008, Science Progress, December 22, 2008.  Actually there are two OA stories in Weiss' Top 8:  the NIH policy at #5 and Obama's science team at #1.  Excerpt:

5: Passage of legislation requiring “open access” publishing for all research reports resulting from work funded by the National Institutes of Health.

After years of heated debate inside and outside of Congress, the NIH implemented the nation’s first open access law in April. As a result, all 80,000 or so research papers published each year that describe the results of NIH-funded studies must now be made available on a free, publicly accessible database within 12 months after publication in a journal. No longer will people who want to read the results of NIH research —paid for with their tax dollars— have to subscribe to expensive scientific journals or pay page charges to the publishers, as has long been the case. The advance will also make it easier for scientists to access each other’s work and for researchers to combine data sets from multiple published reports to perform meta-analyses —a cost-saving means of leveraging scientific data that has been difficult to implement until now....

1: The appointment of a new team of scientific advisers for the next administration

What can we say? President-elect Barack Obama has created nothing less than a dream team when it comes to putting people with real scientific expertise in all the key slots that will need to make evidence-based decisions over the next four years —including his decision, released over the weekend, to post Nobel-prize-winning cancer researcher Harold Varmus and genomics whiz kid Eric Lander to the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology.

The actual evidence that all these Obama-appointed scientists are going to hew to, of course, is largely dispiriting. Climate change, energy needs, food insecurity, and economic chaos —all are threatening global peace and undermining the human quest for justice. But progress is not possible without a square look at the facts. I for one am ready to swallow hard, face the unalloyed truth, and support the plans that have the best hope of getting this listing ship of state on an even keel again.

PS:  For the OA connection with Obama's science team, see Gavin's recent posts on Harold Varmus, Eric Lander, Jane Lubchenco, and Steven Chu.