Public Access Begins

Source: The Scientist

By Andrea Gawrylewski

Today (April 7) is the start day of the National Institutes of Health mandate requiring that all research funded by NIH dollars be deposited into PubMed Central within one year of publication.

Any articles arising from NIH funds that are accepted for publication starting today must be submitted to the database. The policy is part of a mandate issued in January by the NIH in accordance with the Congressional appropriations bill for 2008.

The details of the mandate were discussed at a public meeting on March 20 in Bethesda, Md, which you can read more about here. While the majority of the public, institutions, and publishers have shown support for the mandate, there is still dissent among some publishing groups.

An NIH request for public comment began on March 31 and will be open until May 31.

Many publishing groups feel that the mandate undermines the interests of the publishing industry, and the effort that publishers have already made to make research articles accessible. “It’s the implementation that concerns us,” Frederick Dylla, from the American Institute of Physics, said at the March 20 meeting. “We risk damaging science if we don’t carefully migrate [publishing] models to open access.”

On the other hand, Emma Hill, executive editor of the Journal of Cell Biology, from Rockefeller University Press, said that their subscriptions have continued to rise over the past several years, despite the fact that they release all content after six months of publication. This only costs them about $6 per paper, she said, and increases the visibility of the publication.

Allen Adler, vice president of government and legal affairs for the Association of American Publishers told Genome Web Daily News that at the end of the comment period and subsequent evaluation by the NIH, if the AAP is dissatisfied with the results then they might go to court.

When I spoke to him last month, Glen Ruskin, director of governmental and legal affairs for the American Chemical Society, said that they have no interest in suing the NIH.