SPECIAL UPDATE: Voluntary Public Access at NIH
This update was originally sent out as an e-mail message to AGI's
IN A NUTSHELL: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) held
a 30 minute telephone press conference on 3 February 2005 to unveil
their new policy on public access to federally funded scientific research
and respond to a few questions. The new policy requests any author
whose research received any direct support from NIH-funding to submit
their accepted, but not necessarily edited, manuscripts related to
that research to PubMed Central, the digital library maintained by
the National Library of Medicine (NLM) within 12 months of acceptance.
PubMed Central will post the paper within 12 months of the final publication
date. This new policy is voluntary and allows for a longer time period
from publication to posting than the previously suggested 6 month
period. Although this new policy will only affect NIH-funded research,
it will probably influence the future of publication and dissemination
practices for all federally-funded scientists, publishers and funding
The new policy is stated on the NIH site at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-05-022.html
As stated in the NIH
press release, the new policy will be as follows:
"Beginning May 2, 2005, the policy requests that NIH-funded
scientists submit an electronic version of the author's final manuscript,
upon acceptance for publication, resulting from research supported
in whole or in part by NIH. The author's final manuscript is defined
as the final version accepted for journal publication, and includes
all modifications from the publishing peer review process.
The policy gives authors the flexibility to designate a specific
time frame for public release - ranging from immediate public access
after final publication to a 12 month delay - when they submit their
manuscripts to NIH. Authors are strongly encouraged to exercise their
right to specify that their articles will be publicly available through
PubMed Central (PMC) as soon as possible. "
The policy changes the initially proposed requirement to post manuscripts
on PubMed Central within 6 months of publication to a more flexible
and variable 0 to 12 months of publication. Publication is also defined
as the final publication date specified by the journal, which allows
journals that post express online versions to extend the time period
to the final publication date of their print or final online versions.
The policy only requests authors to submit their manuscripts, it does
not require them to do so and there are no specific penalties for
authors who do not comply with the policy. One incentive for an author
to voluntarily comply is that the submitted manuscript can be used
as an alternative to submitting a progress report to NIH. The policy
also allows publishers to submit a published version of the paper
to supersede the author's accepted version and regardless of which
version is posted, NIH will provide a link to the journal in which
the paper was published. During the telephone press conference, there
were questions about whether the policy is contrary to copyright law
and whether conflict of interest statements that are required by some
publishers will be required of authors who submit accepted manuscripts.
NIH is considering these matters and will provide answers in the near
future. There was also concern about whether this policy puts the
author in a difficult situation between publishers and NIH. To help
address this and other concerns, NLM will form a Public Access Advisory
Working Group to monitor how the new policy is working.
Additional questions or concerns about the new policy can be mailed
to Office of Extramural Research, National Institutes of Health, 6705
Rockledge Drive, Room 350, Bethesda, MD 20892-7963 or emailed to PublicAccess@nih.gov.
There were 2 special updates in 2004 on public access at NIH in the
GAP archives that provide more relevant background on this issue.
has more information about how Congress requested NIH to develop a
new policy and http://www.agiweb.org/gap/legis108/update_openaccess.html
has more background on how and why this may influence future publication
and dissemination practices for non-NIH funded work.
Special update prepared by Linda Rowan, AGI Director of Government
Affairs and Emily Lehr Wallace, AGI Government Affairs Program
Sources: National Institutes of Health.
Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI
Government Affairs Program.
Posted February 7, 2005