Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The NIH policy is working

Kevin Smith, Updates on NIH Public Access, Scholarly Communications at Duke, August 12, 2008.  Commenting on a series of developments with the NIH policy (all of which were covered here at OAN).  Excerpt:

...Taken together, I think these reports indicate two things. First, the Public Access Policy is working, by which I mean that public access to bio-medical research is increasing dramatically without creating any real danger to the publishing industry. The announcement by OUP that they would cooperate in depositing articles indicates that publishers are coming to terms with the requirement and accepting it. Even the news that most publishers elect the 12 month embargo is a sign of growing accommodation; that overly-long embargo provides even the most skittish publishers enough security to adapt to the growing open access movement. Shorter embargoes are undoubtedly sufficient to protect publisher revenues, but the move to those shorter delays will have to take place gradually, as more and more publishers realize that, whatever the threats to their traditional business models are, NIH Public Access is not one of them.

Second, I hope that we are seeing an awakening realization on the part of scholarly authors that they have genuine choices as they consider how to disseminate their work. The soaring PMC submission rate, and the decisions by major publishers not to resist it, suggest that making submission easier for authors is rapidly becoming a competitive advantage. As authors realize that they have control over their work for as long as they retain copyright ownership, publishers might have to take on a service role they have never really played before, competing for the best scholarship by help authors meet the requirements of the funders who underwrite the research.