Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

NIH Director visits Australia

Bernard Lane, NHMRC urged to refine its message, The Australian Higher Education, February 6, 2008.  (Thanks to Colin Steele.)  Excerpt:

"I believe the NHMRC [Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council] should have a much higher public profile," said Elias Zerhouni, director of the US National Institutes of Health, which dedicates 1 per cent of its $US29 billion ($32billion) budget to public communication and has the most visited health website in the US.

Dr Zerhouni, who visited Australia last week to take part in an unprecedented international review of the NHMRC, said the Australian agency needed a "much bigger footprint on the web". He said researchers associated with the NHMRC were already influential, given that Australia ranked third, after Canada and Britain, in the fierce competition for NIH grants among non-US scientists....

Last month, public access to research entered a new era when the NIH adopted a policy requiring all the scientists it funds to send copies of their papers to the free, web-based journal PubMed Central for publication no later than a year after they appear in traditional journals.

Dr Zerhouni told the HES that under the old voluntary system, only 17 per cent to 20 per cent of papers found their way to PubMed Central.

"A voluntary system doesn't work because there's lots of opposition, or because the scientists don't want to take the time," he said.

He said the reaction from publishers - especially multinationals and some scientific societies - to the new mandatory policy was "not good, (they are) very concerned".

But many journals already had been giving articles to PubMed Central for delayed publication without any effect on their revenues, he said.