Yesterday when I posted the good news that the House Appropriations Committee had approved an OA mandate for the NIH, I didn’t have the exact language of the bill. Now I do:
Sec. 221: 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.
The new appropriations bill is scheduled to come up for a vote by the full House next Tuesday, July 17, and publishers are sure to lobby hard to delete this language. If you are a US citizen and support public access for publicly-funded research, it’s critically important to contact your representative and ask him/her to support this bill or at least to oppose any efforts to amend or strike the language on the OA mandate for the NIH. Contact your rep now, before you forget, and spread the word. [My emphasis.]
This is very good news. The NIH has always tried to pursue Open Access and Open Data. For example the DTP branch of the National Cancer Institute published the NCI database of ca 250, 000 compounds and data which, for many years was the only source of Open chemistry data. The NIH has always had a battle to get this philosophy through the US political process so do not assume it will happen unless you lend your effort.
This is, of course, not the last battle. We have to raise the awareness of the importance of scientific data (Open Data) and so as soon as this is approved start campaigning that data must be made open alongside scientific publications. Without data a publication is a pale shadow of what it should be.