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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

More on the bill to strengthen the NIH policy

Battle to Resume as NIH Seeks to Require Deposit in PubMed Central, Library Journal Academic Newswire, July 10, 2007.  Excerpt:

A familiar conflict is heating up once again, as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) again seeks to establish a policy that would require investigators funded wholly or in part by the agency to deposit their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts in PubMed Central, the National Library of Medicine's online archive. The House Committee on Appropriations should consider the policy in its deliberations, beginning July 11, regarding the fiscal year (FY) 2008 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill. Despite support from the NIH director and many in Congress, the policy change is opposed by STM publishers, who are lobbying to have the language stricken from the bill or changed.

The change recalls the fierce debate of 2004-2005. In February 2005, the NIH was set to mandate deposit in PubMed Central, but the policy was modified at the eleventh hour from a "requirement" to deposit the articles within six months to a request that NIH-funded researchers voluntarily deposit their articles within a year. Not surprisingly, compliance since the weakened policy was implemented has been remarkably low, with as little as five percent of NIH-funded researchers depositing their papers. That lagging compliance rate did not escape the scrutiny of Congress, note advocates of the policy. The Senate's 2008 appropriations bill, introduced by Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) requires NIH-funded researchers to deposit in PubMed Central an electronic copy of their peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication in a journal. Articles would then become publicly available "no later than 12 months after publication." ...

Heather Joseph, executive director of SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), said that, after three years of pushing, "the momentum is real and Congress understands the public's interest."

Signs of that momentum have emerged from a number of funding agencies and institutions worldwide, such as the Wellcome Trust in the UK, which now requires the research it funds to made freely publicly available. Last month, the Maryland-based Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) announced that it will require its scientists to publish their original research articles in scientific journals that allow articles to be "made freely accessible in a public repository within six months of publication." ...