House Appropriations Committee to Require OA for NIH Funded Research
This is big news. Previously, the NIH was directed to "recommend" that academics submit their publications resulting from NIH funding to public archives. However, looks like the House Appropriations Commitee is seeking to make mandatory that these publications be publicly accessible within one year of publication.
While this doesn't directly affect our field (or anyone in the humanities) since we don't get funding from the NIH, what it will do is ratify the idea at the federal level that scholarship produced by public funds should be publicly available:
“This action is a clear signal from Congressional leaders that they are committed to advancing the cause of science and the public interest,” said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, an ATA founding member). “The bill is a significant step in acknowledging the profound impact the Internet has on the conduct of scientific research and the need for this research to be shared as widely as possible.”
Long term effects are that federal policy based on this ideology may get carried over into things like the NEH. Arguably, access to the product and study of our culture is as important as access to scientific reasearch.
And eventually this thinking should trickle down into the academy. It's too hard to argue against this other than in logistical ways (e.g., fears that it will affect the economic feasibility of scholarly publishing).
So cross your fingers.