Open Access News

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

New clarity on the NIH policy

NIH Updates its Public Access Policy FAQ, a summary of the updates from SPARC, May 7, 2008.  Excerpt:

The NIH has made significant revisions to its NIH Public Access Policy Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page. These revisions were posted on May 2, 2008. For your reference, we have detailed the revisions – which include one blanket change, a series of added questions and answers, and some revisions –below. Please circulate to anyone who may be interested in or affected by the policy.

The changes to the FAQ do not point to any changes in the policy or implementation procedures, but rather seem designed to provide additional clarity to those tasked with compliance.

The changes include:

  • A blanket change to the use of the term “paper” rather than “article” throughout the FAQ. Presumably, this change was made in response to concerns raised by stakeholders that the term “article” could be too easily interpreted to mean “final published article,” rather than the author’s final, accepted manuscript. 

New Questions/Answers:

Section A. General Information

  • Question A4 – Provides link to sample guidelines that can be used to alert authors to the public access policy.

Section B. Scope of the Policy

  • Question B10 – Clarifies application of the policy to papers arising from NIH core labs or infrastructure funding.
  • Question B11 – Clarifies term “directly funded” by NIH.
  • Question B12 – Addresses the compliance responsibilities of sub-recipients of NIH-funding.

Section C. How to Comply with the Policy

  • Question C7 – Addresses what author should do if a PMCID number has not yet been assigned to their paper.
  • Question C8 – Addresses need for PMCID number to be cited in NIH applications, progress reports and proposals.
  • Question C9  - Clarifies how to get required PMCID number to ensure compliance with the policy.
  • Question C10 – Clarifies what NIH might do in the case of failure of investigator/institution to comply with policy.
  • Question C11 – Addresses suggested actions investigator might take if they inadvertently sign agreement with publisher whose policies do not support compliance with the NIH public access requirement.

Section D. What Needs to be Submitted

  • Question D5 – Addresses ability of investigators to deposit papers that do not arise from NIH funding into PubMed Central.

Section E. How to Submit Papers to PubMed Central

  • Question E4 – Provides suggestions for steps authors can take to cover publication costs in the event a grant has expired or has insufficient funds to cover costs.
  • Question E5 – Clarifies who should submit paper in the event of multiple authors and/or multiple funding sources. 

Section F. Policy Background

  • Question F5 – Clarifies (lack of) publisher responsibility for compliance with public access policy.
  • Question F6 – Clarifies how copyright holders can ensure effective compliance with public access policy.

Revisions to Existing Questions/Answers

  • Questions B1-B5 – Expanded to clarify exactly what type of papers/NIH funding the policy applies to.