Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, August 08, 2008

Most publishers demand the maximum embargo under NIH policy

From the August 7 issue of Library Journal Academic Newswire:

...[C]oncerns that the public access policy would basically result in a de facto one year embargo period appear to be proving true so far, as NIH officials confirmed to the LJ Academic Newswire last week that most publishers are opting for the maximum, 12-month embargo period for access in PMC....

Comment.  This should surprise no one.  It happened under the older, voluntary policy (one, two) and it's happening again under the new, mandatory policy.  Remember that the NIH is an outlier:  it's the only OA-mandating funder of medical research in the world which permits a 12 month embargo.  Every other OA-mandating funder of medical research caps the embargo at six months:  the Arthritis Research Campaign (UK), British Heart Foundation, Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, European Research Council, Cancer Research UK, Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Executive Health Department, Department of Health (UK), Fund to Promote Scientific Research (Austria), Genome Canada, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Joint Information Systems Committee (UK), and the Wellcome Trust (UK).  This matters because delaying public access to publicly-funded research is a compromise with the public interest, and delays are more harmful in medicine than in any other field.  Now that the OA mandate is law, researchers and their institutions are learning how to comply with it, and TA publishers are accommodating it, it's time to talk about stepping down the maximum permissible embargo from 12 months to nine and then six.