Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, September 03, 2004

More on the NIH OA plan

Jocelyn Kaiser, Zerhouni Plans a Nudge Toward Open Access, Science, September 3, 2004 (accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt: "Hoping to resolve an escalating debate about public access to biomedical research reports, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Elias Zerhouni consulted with scientists this week and said that he is leaning toward a delay of 6 months after publication before posting grantees' papers on NIH's free Web archive. This plan won't satisfy everyone, he acknowledged, but it is 'reasonable.' A war of words broke out this summer after Zerhouni responded to a House report urging NIH to come up with a plan to give free access to published papers. In a stern seven-page letter last week, the Association of American Publishers and other groups called NIH's plans a 'radical new policy' and an 'inappropriate intrusion' on free enterprise [PS reply]; they contend that it could force journals to adopt an 'unproven' model in which authors pay publication costs [PS reply]. Lobbying for the plan, 25 Nobel laureates --led by Richard Roberts and including former NIH director Harold Varmus and James Watson-- wrote Congress on 26 August expressing 'strong support' for posting NIH grantees' papers in PubMedCentral --NIH's free, full-text archive-- as soon as they are published. A new coalition of patient and library groups called the Alliance for Taxpayer Access, meanwhile, is backing a 6-month release plan." (Thanks to Alexei Koudinov.)