Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, January 07, 2008

More on the ACS response to the NIH policy

Rebecca Trager, US science budget fails to deliver, Chemistry World, January 7, 2008.  Excerpt:

...[The American Chemical Society is concerned that the new funding bill does too little to increase funding for science.]  Also of concern to the ACS is the inclusion of language in the funding bill that will require NIH-funded researchers to submit their peer-reviewed manuscripts to the agency's free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences literature, known as PubMed Central. The manuscripts will have to be made publicly available within twelve months of publication.

The provision, which makes mandatory NIH's currently voluntary public access policy, is controversial. The language met significant resistance from publishers and scholarly societies such as the ACS when it was included in an earlier appropriations bill that Bush vetoed in November 2007 (see 'Chemistry's open access dilemma', Chemistry World, December 2007, p12).

[ACS spokesperson Glenn Ruskin] says that the most responsible policy would be to put the manuscripts into a universal format, such as Adobe's PDF, and give it to NIH to post online. 'But what NIH is trying to do with these final peer reviewed articles has become cloudy,' he said. 'The agency is adding things and tweaking has moved beyond a copyright issue to become an intellectual property issue.' ...


  • There seem to be some words missing from the beginning of the final sentence.  Note the punctuation:  "...tweaking has...."  I hope Chemistry World can correct the copy.  Meantime I've already answered several variations on the copyright objection in my response to the AAP/PSP objections and my response to the STM objections.
  • It's true that NIH "is adding things" to raw submissions by grantees.   For example, it adds a citation and link to the published edition of the article.  It adds links from note calls to endnotes, and from references in endnotes to PubMed entries and full-text.  It adds links to data on deposit in any of NIH's many OA databases.  There's much more, which I reviewed in two articles from 2005 (one, two).  In short, NIH makes the editions on deposit in PubMed Central more useful than the original submissions, and for most working researchers more useful than the published editions in journals.  If that makes ACS nervous, the NIH policy allows publishers to replace the PMC edition with the published edition.