Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, May 19, 2008

Calling on journals to join PubMed Central

Michael Rogawski is calling on more biomedical journals join the list of journals participating in PubMed Central.  Excerpt:

...Journal participation in PubMed Central is dismal. And there isn't any logical reason for it, at least for journals that provide free access to content after a delay (which is the case for many society journals). There is no cost to participate, and journals can impose a delay on free access that matches their own delay period.

Participation offers the following benefits:

(1) NIH-funded authors are relieved of the responsibility for self-depositing to PubMed Central;

(2) PDF versions of the articles on PubMed Central are the publisher's version and not an ad-hoc version created from the author's pre-copy-edited manuscript;

(3) PubMed Central provides a back-up archive. (I have experienced HighWire Press outages where I was not able to access journal content through the HighWire platform. During these outages, I was grateful to be able to access papers in participating journals like PNAS through PubMed Central.)

At present only 452 journals are full participants in PubMed Central, of which perhaps 200 or so are from traditional non-OA publishers. This compares with the 5,194 (mostly) life sciences and biomedical journals that are indexed in MEDLINE/PubMed.

Commercial and society publishers should be encouraged to become full participants in PubMed Central. Many publishers may be contemplating selective deposit agreements to meet the requirements of the NIH Public Access Policy. While this will provide the 3 above-noted benefits for articles that fall under the NIH mandate, full participation expands the benefit of back-up archiving to the full journal content, which is highly desirable.

Comment.  There are several ways in which journals can participate in PMC.  They can deposit just the articles by their NIH-funded authors.  If they are hybrid OA journals, they can deposit all their OA articles, whether or not by NIH-funded authors, and hold back their TA articles.  They can deposit all their research articles, and hold back their review articles.  Or they can deposit all their articles.  In the wake of the new NIH OA mandate, more and more journals are deciding to deposit articles by their NIH-funded authors.  That's good, but Rogawski is asking them to go further and consider depositing all their articles.  This is important.  Many journals may not realize that there are options beyond the first level.  While the articles by NIH-funded authors must be deposited at the time of acceptance for publication, and released within 12 months of publication, journals depositing other kinds of articles may use the embargo or moving wall of their choice.  For details on the criteria for participation, see How to Join PMC.