Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, February 13, 2009

Confirmation hearings for Obama nominees

U.S. President Barack Obama's nominees to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Office of Science and Technology Policy, John Holdren and Jane Lubchenco, received a confirmation hearing from the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation yesterday. Obama's nominee for Solicitor General, Elena Kagan, received a confirmation hearing from the Judiciary Committee on February 10. The Senate has yet to vote on their confirmations. Reports suggest both hearings went favorably to the nominees.

We previously wrote about Lubchenco's and Kagan's connections with OA. Holdren, who would become Obama's de facto science advisor, could have significant influence on OA policy, but we were not previously able to find any references to his views on or familiarity with OA. His opening remarks at the committee hearing suggest a general outlook, but with few specifics:

... Information technology has been a key driver of our productivity growth in recent decades and has fundamentally changed the way people worldwide communicate and work. But we have just seen the beginning of what can be achieved. Information technology has vast potential to improve health care, increase energy efficiency, monitor climate and other environmental conditions, and manage the immense amounts of data from scientific efforts from the Human Genome Project to the Large Hadron Collider. ...

Comment. We previously noted the confirmation of Energy Secretary Steven Chu, another Obama nominee with OA connections.