Open-access advocates cheered last week when the Senate passed HR 3043, a bill making appropriations for the Departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services. That’s because the measure included language requiring all researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health to submit their final manuscripts to a free online archive: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.
That language had already made its way into the House’s appropriations bill, which passed earlier this year. But Sen. James M. Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, led an effort to remove the mandate from the Senate version of the measure. (According to the blog DigitalKoans, one of Mr. Inhofe’s campaign contributors is Reed Elsevier Inc., the for-profit science publisher.)
In the end, Mr. Inhofe relented, and the bill passed by a wide margin. But open-access enthusiasts shouldn’t break out the champagne just yet: As Open Access News points out, it’s “not at all clear that the full Congress will be able to override a Bush veto, something both sides know very well.” —Brock Read