Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, February 03, 2005

NIH public-access policy finally released

The NIH has finally released the language of its public-access policy, which will take effect May 2, 2005. This is essentially the same version of the policy that I described as weakened and watered down in yesterday's issue of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter. I refer you there for my comments on it.

My bottom line: There are three main problems with today's version of the policy. First, it's a request and not a requirement. Taxpayer access to publicly-funded medical research should be guaranteed. Second, it lengthens the delay on public access beyond six months, at the grantee's discretion. Previous versions of the policy used a six-month embargo, which was already a compromise with the public interest. And third, it puts grantees in the painful and risky position of having to choose between their funding agency and their publisher. The NIH will ask grantees to choose public release as soon as possible after publication, and many publishers will ask grantees to choose public release as late as possible. It's better than nothing but a lot less than the taxpayers deserved. In the end it looks like the publishers had more clout with the NIH than scientists or taxpayers.