Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, February 04, 2005

More on the NIH policy

Jocelyn Kaiser, NIH Unveils Public Access Policy, Science Magazine, February 3, 2005 (accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt: 'Supporting the policy were librarians, patient advocates, and some scientists who feel research articles should be free. In the other corner, publishers said that free access would bankrupt them and scientific societies dependent on journal income. After listening to both sides, Zerhouni has now issued a final policy that states NIH will wait up to 1 year. But there's another new twist: Instead of relying on the publishers' own policies for when articles can be posted, authors are "encouraged" to have NIH post their papers "as soon as possible." Authors "will negotiate" the timing with the publisher, says Norka Ruiz Bravo, NIH extramural research director. Neither side seems satisfied with the policy. "It's going to create a schism between authors and their publishers," complains Martin Frank, executive director of the American Physiological Society, who also thinks the government is infringing on journals' copyrights. Open access advocates, for their part, aren't happy about the "voluntary" aspect or the switch from 6 months to 12 months, by which time many journals make papers free anyway. Whether articles will become available any sooner "is a big "if,'" commented Sharon Terry, president of the Genetic Alliance.'