President Bush this week vetoed the recently passed Labor, Health and Human Services (LSSA) domestic spending bill. It contained a mandatory public access policy for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). While an override vote has yet to be scheduled, the bill passed in both chambers just shy of the two-thirds majorities needed, making an override highly unlikely.
The veto means publishers opposed to the public access policy are likely to get one more shot to try to remove or amend the policy during negotiations. Although the bill was vetoed for its overall spending, the White House’s “Statement of Administration Policy” (SAP) memo “noted” that any NIH policy “should balance the benefit of public access to taxpayer supported research against the possible impact that grant conditions could have on scientific research publishing, scientific peer review and on the United States’ longstanding leadership in upholding strong standards of protection for intellectual property.” That mention suggests those opposed to the policy could have another, albeit remote, opportunity to revise or slash the policy. Supporters say that heavy bipartisan support for the policy suggest it will survive intact, though advocates for the policy are urging supporters to contact their representatives.
The NIH public access policy, strongly supported by libraries for years, would require researchers to deposit their final articles in the NIH’s PubMed Central database to be made freely available within a year as a condition of grant funding.
Library Journal Academic Newswire, Nov. 15, 2007
Bush Vetos Bill that Contains NIH Open Access Mandate – but there is hope it will eventually pass!
President Bush has vetoed the FY 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill, which contained the NIH open access mandate.
Here’s the open access mandate in the bill:
The Director of the National Institutes of Health shall require that all investigators funded by the NIH submit or have submitted for them to the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication, to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication: Provided, That the NIH shall implement the public access policy in a manner consistent with copyright law.
However, there is still hope for the Bill to pass. Read Peter Suber’s analysis of the President’s veto:
* First, don’t panic. This has been expected for months and the fight is not over. Here’s a reminder from my November newsletter: “There are two reasons not to despair if President Bush vetoes the LHHS appropriations bill later this month. If Congress overrides the veto, then the OA mandate language will become law. Just like that. If Congress fails to override the veto, and modifies the LHHS appropriation instead, then the OA mandate is likely to survive intact.” (See the rest of the newsletter for details on both possibilities.)
* Also expected: Bush vetoed the bill for spending more than he wants to spend, not for its OA provision.
* Second, it’s time for US citizens to contact their Congressional delegations again. This time around, contact your Representative in the House as well as your two Senators. The message is: vote yes on an override of the President’s veto of the LHHS appropriations bill. (Note that the LHHS appropriations bill contains much more than the provision mandating OA at the NIH.)
* The override votes—one in each chamber—haven’t yet been scheduled. They may come this week or they may be delayed until after Thanksgiving. But they will come and it’s not too early to contact your Congressional delegation. For the contact info for your representatives (phone, email, fax, local offices), see CongressMerge.
* Please spread the word!
From:DigitalKoans, Nov. 13, 2007
News Release from October 24th, when the US Senate Approved the Bill
Full U.S. Senate Approves Bill Containing Support for Access To Taxpayer-Funded Research
Washington, D.C. – October 24, 2007 – The U.S. Senate last night approved the FY2008 Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Bill (S.1710), including a provision that directs the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to strengthen its Public Access Policy by requiring rather than requesting participation by researchers. The bill will now be reconciled with the House Appropriations Bill, which contains a similar provision, in another step toward support for public access to publicly funded research becoming United States law.
“Last night’s Senate action is a milestone victory for public access to taxpayer-funded research,” said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, a founding member of the ATA). “This policy sets the stage for researchers, patients, and the general public to benefit in new and important ways from our collective investment in the critical biomedical research conducted by the NIH.”
Under a mandatory policy, NIH-funded researchers will be required to deposit copies of eligible manuscripts into the National Library of Medicine’s online database, PubMed Central. Articles will be made publicly available no later than 12 months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
The current NIH Public Access Policy, first implemented in 2005, is a voluntary measure and has resulted in a deposit rate of less than 5% by individual investigators. The advance to a mandatory policy is the result of more than two years of monitoring and evaluation by the NIH, Congress, and the community.
“We thank our Senators for taking action on this important issue,” said Pat Furlong, Founding President and CEO of Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy. “This level of access to NIH-funded research will impact the disease process in novel ways, improving the ability of scientists to advance therapies and enabling patients and their advocates to participate more effectively. The advance is timely, much-needed, and – we anticipate – an indication of increasingly enhanced access in future.”
“American businesses will benefit tremendously from improved access to NIH research,” said William Kovacs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce vice president for environment, technology and regulatory affairs. “The Chamber encourages the free and timely dissemination of scientific knowledge produced by the NIH as it will improve both the public and industry’s ability to become better informed on developments that impact them – and on opportunities for innovation.” The Chamber is the world’s largest business federation, representing more than three million businesses of every size, sector, and region.
“We welcome the NIH policy being made mandatory and thank Congress for backing this important step,” said Gary Ward, Treasurer of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB). “Free and timely public access to scientific literature is necessary to ensure that new discoveries are made as quickly as feasible. It’s the right thing to do, given that taxpayers fund this research.” The ASCB represents 11,000 members and publishes the highly ranked peer-reviewed journal, Molecular Biology of the Cell.
Joseph added, “On behalf of the taxpayers, patients, researchers, students, libraries, universities, and businesses that pressed this bill forward with their support over the past two years, the ATA thanks Congress for throwing its weight behind the success of taxpayer access to taxpayer-funded research.”
Negotiators from the House and Senate are expected to meet to reconcile their respective bills this fall. The final, consolidated bill will have to pass the House and the Senate before being delivered to the President at the end of the year.
The Alliance for Taxpayer Access is a coalition of patient, academic, research, and publishing organizations that supports open public access to the results of federally funded research. The Alliance was formed in 2004 to urge that peer-reviewed articles stemming from taxpayer-funded research become fully accessible and available online at no extra cost to the American public. Details on the ATA may be found at http://www.taxpayeraccess.org.