Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Guide to US copyright law, especially for research grantees

CENDI, the US federal government STI managers group, released an August 2008 update to its extensive FAQ About Copyright

Section 4 is devoted to Works Created Under a Federal Contract or Grant.  Question 4.12 directly addresses the NIH policy:

4.12  What Language could be used in a copyright agreement between a contractor or grantee author and a publisher to clarify the authorís right to deposit journal articles in the electronic repository of the government agency that funded the authorís research?

In 2005 the National Institutes of Health (NIH) implemented a Policy on Enhancing Public Access to Archived Publications Resulting from NIH-Funded Research. The NIH Policy explicitly recognizes and upholds the principles of copyright. Authors and journals can continue to assert copyright in NIH-funded scientific publications, in accordance with current practice. The policy encourages authors to exercise their right to give NIH a copy of their final manuscript before publication.  While individual copyright arrangements can take many forms, NIH encourages investigators to sign agreements that specifically allow the manuscript to be deposited with NIH for public posting on PubMed Central as soon as possible after journal publication.  Institutions and investigators may wish to develop particular contract terms in consultation with their own legal counsel, as appropriate.  But, as an example, the kind of language that an author or institution might add to a copyright agreement includes the following:

"Journal acknowledges that Author retains the right to provide a copy of the final manuscript to NIH upon acceptance for Journal publication or thereafter, for public archiving in PubMed Central as soon as possible after publication by Journal."