Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Rockefeller UP: No delay on implementing NIH policy

Mike Rossner, Executive Director of the Rockefeller University Press, has publicly released the letter he sent to the Department of Health and Human Services, supporting the OA mandate at the NIH and opposing attempts by publishers to delay or derail it.  Excerpt:

I am the Executive Director of The Rockefeller University Press, a non-profit organization that publishes three scientific journals. I am writing to take issue with a letter sent to you on January 11, 2008 by Martin Frank of the DC Principles Organization and Allan Adler of the Association of American Publishers (AAP). That letter is an attempt to stall the implementation of the mandatory NIH public access policy, under which authors will be required to post publications resulting from NIH-funded research on PubMed Central.

Dr. Frank and Mr. Adler note that many of their "member organizations… strongly opposed enactment of the controversial mandatory NIH public access policy as part of the FY2008 omnibus appropriations legislation". As far as I know, not a single publisher has publicly declared opposition to this policy. In fact, several publishers, including ourselves, have publicly declared that they do not support the AAP's lobbying efforts against this policy (see references below). All of these publishers are members of the AAP.

The authors of the January 11th letter request a public notice and comment rulemaking on the mandatory policy....

All scientific publishers understand several truths: 1) that their content is generated in large part through federally funded research, 2) that the peer review process is carried out in large part by federally funded individuals, and 3) that a significant portion of their subscription revenue is obtained from government funded institutions. Many publishers believe they have an obligation to give something back to the public that has provided those funds, and they make their online content free after a short delay under subscription control. However, a few large, highly profitable publishers have refused to do this, and have thus forced the NIH into the position of mandating deposition of NIH-funded research publications in PubMed Central to make them available to the public. I strongly support this mandate, and I urge you to implement it as soon as possible, without the unnecessary delay of further public comment.