NIH to Begin Enforcing Public-Access Policy in April
Peer-reviewed journal articles based on NIH-funded research will soon become available to the public at no cost through the PubMed Central online database, which is administered by the NIH National Library of Medicine (NLM). This policy goes into effect on April 7 and will affect all intramural and extramural research funded in fiscal year 2008 and beyond.
"Public access is a public good," says Dr. Norka Ruiz Bravo, NIH deputy director of extramural research and director of the NIH Office of Extramural Research. "The mandatory policy makes publications resulting from NIH-funded research accessible to all - the public, health care providers, educators, and scientists, among others. Public access will help advance science and improve human health."
The policy is outlined at http://publicaccess.nih.gov and is legislated by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008, which followed years of lobbying by proponents of public access and several intermediate Congressional bills.
It is estimated that approximately 80,000 journal articles each year are published as a result of NIH-sponsored research. Previously, study authors were asked to voluntarily submit their published manuscripts, but far fewer of them did than was hoped.
To enforce the new policy, NIH has instituted a condition in all grants and cooperative agreements such that, in accepting funds, researchers agree to submit their manuscripts to PubMed Central upon acceptance of publication. Articles can be embargoed for up to 12 months. After the embargo, however, the article will be made publicly available in PubMed Central.
More than 300 journals have an agreement with NLM where they automatically submit articles to PubMed Central, and the authors who want to publish in these journals need not do anything more. But if an author wishes to publish in another journal, they must submit the article themselves on the Manuscript Submission System (www.nihms.nih.gov). Beginning on May 25, authors must include a PubMed Central reference number for each article that they cite in their grant applications and proposals.
Retroactive submission of articles that were published before the April 7 deadline is not mandatory, but authors are encouraged to submit these manuscripts if they have appropriate copyright permission.
To assist intramural and extramural researchers with adherence to the new policy, the NIH Office of Extramural Research is planning a series of workshops in 2008. The office will announce these workshops on its Web site at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/oer.htm.