Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Sunday, February 03, 2008

More on the NIH OA mandate

Robin Peek, What’s Next Post Mandate? A preprint of her Focus on Publishing column to appear in the March issue of Information Today.  The preprint will come down at the end of this month and the postprint will go up three months after publication.  Excerpt:

...NIH tells submitters that: “Before you sign a publication agreement or similar copyright transfer agreement, make sure that the agreement allows the article to be submitted to NIH in accordance with the Public Access Policy.’ However what the NIH does not explain how the mandate will work with publishers who are not already in compliance with the guidelines. The NIH notes that,” Institutions and investigators are responsible for ensuring that any publishing or copyright agreements concerning submitted articles fully comply with this Policy.

Peter Suber, author of the SPARC Open Access News, observes “the policy makes no exceptions for dissenting publishers, does not depend on publisher consent, and simply requires grantee compliance. This clearly implies that if a publisher does not accommodate the NIH policy, and grantees cannot obtain special permission to comply with it, then they must look for another publisher.” ...

One thing to keep in mind is that not all publishers object to this law as a good number of biomedical research journals...[already] submit [their articles] to PMC. Despite the strongly worded press releases from the major lobbying groups such the Association of American Publishers and the STM Publishers vowing to keep up the fight opposing the law...fighting the Congress and the President really has become old and its time to move on to other things. For example, Martin Frank, executive director of the American Physiological Society, noted in a January 11, 2008 issue of Science. ‘Journals will have to step up their policing by asking NIH to remove articles that have been mistakenly posted because they are still under embargo or are too old to fall under the policy.”

The later part is just plain strange --where is logic of vanquishing the items submitted voluntarily? I am sorry, when did this become as issue? ...I wish that the enlightened publishers who are already successfully working with the voluntary policy try to positively influence the implementation plan and not participate with publishing lobbies who provide us with more silly side street distractions.

But with the law will come the necessity to charge up the education machine. As Heather Joseph, the Director of SPARC stated in an interview with LJ Newswire: “In terms of the immediate future, librarians are going to be extremely busy educating their administrators, faculty members, researchers, and students as to how to comply with the policy, and also on what it means to each constituency. Successful implementation of this policy must be a high priority for the coming year.” ...