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Thursday, October 04, 2007

TA journal deposits its new articles in PMC after six months

Emma Hill, JCB content automatically deposited in PubMed Central (PMC), Journal of Cell Biology, October 1, 2007.  An editorial.  Excerpt:

Public access to JCB content

The JCB has long been a leader in providing free, public access to the science we publish. Since January 2001 we have released our content six months after publication, and we also provide immediate free-access to colleagues in 143 developing nations. And, in this my first editorial in the journal, I am delighted to announce another enhancement to our commitment to public access. As of November 2007 we will deposit all JCB content in PubMed Central (PMC), where it will available to the public six months after publication.

PMC, developed and managed by the NIH's National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), in the National Library of Medicine (NLM), is a free digital archive of literature from biomedical and life science journals. Despite a previous reluctance on our side, we are now happy to provide the NLM with all of our content in XML format. The process requires a certain amount of finessing to ensure accurate conversion (hence the short delay until November). This change in our policy stems from the realization that XML content may have greater longevity than PDF files. We also recognize the necessity for multiple archives of our electronic content as print is phased out.

Additional placement of JCB content in the PMC archive ensures permanent and free access in a central repository alongside research from other leading journals. Our routine deposit in PMC represents de facto compliance for authors with policies formulated by many funding agencies requiring access to research they have funded after a short delay. This service will be free of charge to authors (although HHMI are welcome to pay us $1,000–$1,500 a pop if they so choose)....

We continue to derive our revenue from journal subscriptions in addition to author billings, and we thus delay the public release of our content for six months. However, as has been the case since July 2000, if authors want to make their papers available sooner, they may post the final, published, PDF version on their own websites immediately after publication....

Comment.  This goes well beyond standard green policies that permit self-archiving.  It even goes beyond the few that positively encourage self-archiving.  It guarantees OA archiving and doesn't leave it to the initiative of busy authors unfamiliar with their options.  Automatic deposit in PMC is routine for OA journals at PLoS and BMC, but don't forget that JCB is a TA journal.  Moreover, JCB is depositing the published editions of its articles, not the unedited author manuscripts, and doing so from self-interest, not the goad of payments from authors or funding agencies.  Compare the HHMI deal with Elsevier in which Elsevier would not deposit even the unedited author manuscripts in PMC without payment of $1,000-1,500 per paper.  If other journals follow the lead of JCB, then the OA percentage of the new literature will rapidly approach 100% and funding agencies like HHMI will never again accede to archiving demands like those of Elsevier.  Kudos to JCB and Rockefeller University Press.