Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Heather Joseph defends the NIH policy against the Conyers bill, continued

Heather Joseph, the Executive Director or SPARC, has released her December 1 letter to Howard Berman, answering five of his follow-up questions and supplementing her testimony at the September 2008 hearing on OA, the NIH policy, and the Conyers bill ("Fair Copyright in Research Works Act").  Berman is the last chairman of the House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property, which held the hearing.  John Conyers, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has since abolished the subcommittee.

Comment.  At the time of the hearing, Berman was said to have some doubts about the bill, which would overturn the NIH policy and forbid other federal agencies from adopting similar policies.  While his subcommittee is now gone, shifting power to Conyers, the bill's sponsor, Berman remains an influential member of the Judiciary Committee.  It's a good sign that he asked for these five follow-up questions and a good sign that he now has these five strong answers.

Update.  Berman also had follow-up questions for Martin Frank, one of the publisher representatives who opposes the NIH policy and supports the Conyers bill.  Frank has also released his December 1 answers to Berman.  Last October, Frank submitted another written supplement to his oral testimony, and I commented on it at the time.