President Bush Vetoes Bill Containing NIH Open Access Mandate

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

Here's 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!

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