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.


There was a fellow named Iverson at the NIH whose Cortisol research was suppressed for 10 years--he found low Cortisol in people who had CFIDD/ME. Names and personal and medical information are being stolen--FSRN and my Inhome Service agency--we had a hit a week or so ago.

The same thing happened under Clinton after the Gulf War.
He opened the VA clinics to families of Gulf War Veterans
and all the records were stolen. This legislation attempts to address this "problem." Are we now calling PR press releases?

Sounds like PR to me.

Buhka Wiikahn

Hi Buhkah,

Open access to scholarly publishing is a little different than the "problems" you are describing. The research is already being published and can be accessed by those who's institutions can afford to pay for subscriptions. This legislation would facilitate open access which is about making those publications available to everyone. But it's not about releasing private information that should not be public.

You can learn more about open access at Peter Suber's Open Access Overview.

Charlie | cyberdash