Thursday, November 1, 2007

NIH Bill Advances in the Senate

From American Libraries Direct :

"Senate Okays Public Access to Medical Research"

"The U.S. Senate approved October 23 a measure that mandates the deposit of peer-reviewed articles researched with the support of the National Institutes of Health to be deposited into the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central database for public availability within 12 months of publication.

The provision is part of the Senate’s $605.5-billion version of H.R. 3043, the FY2008 appropriation for the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. The American Library Association’s Washington Office reports that the Senate has recommended $171.5 million of that amount for grants under the Library Services and Technology Act, which is $5 million more than the House approved in July. The two chambers must reconcile the versions, along with six other spending bills passed by both houses, before sending them to the White House.

According to the October 24 CongressDaily online news, President Bush has threatened to veto H.R. 3043 because the discretionary spending portion is some 5% more than appropriated for FY2007, compared to the 2.5% cut proposed by the administration.

The passage by the Senate was hailed by Heather Joseph of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) as “a milestone victory [that] 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 National Institutes of Health.” First proposed in 2004 by a House subcommittee, unfettered public access to peer-reviewed research has been opposed by the publishing industry. The initial compromise struck was the 2005 establishment of a voluntary deposit program, which has yielded open access to less than 5% of the eligible medical literature, according to the Alliance for Taxpayer Access.

SPARC and ALA are among 41 groups of educators and patient and health-policy advocates that formed the Alliance in 2004.

Posted October 27, 2007."

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