Publishers object to OA mandate

The new mandate that requires NIH-funded researchers to make their published papers publicly available threatens publisher and author interests, according to a linkurl:statement;http://www.pspcentral.org/publications/AAP_press_release_NIH_mandatory_policy.pdf released yesterday (January 3) by the Association of American Publishers (AAP). The mandate was signed into law by the president on December 26 as part of the 2008 appropriations bill, which went through many linkurl:iterations;http://www.

By | January 4, 2008

The new mandate that requires NIH-funded researchers to make their published papers publicly available threatens publisher and author interests, according to a linkurl:statement;http://www.pspcentral.org/publications/AAP_press_release_NIH_mandatory_policy.pdf released yesterday (January 3) by the Association of American Publishers (AAP). The mandate was signed into law by the president on December 26 as part of the 2008 appropriations bill, which went through many linkurl:iterations;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/53858/ before its final passage. By law, the NIH must now require that its funded researchers submit a copy of any published work into PubMed Central within one year of publication, when allowed by copyright laws. The new mandate "undermines publishers' ability to exercise their copyrights in the published articles, which is the means by which they support their investments in such value-adding operations," Allan Adler, vice president of legal and government affairs of the AAP, said in the statement. Adler continued that making content of for-profit journals freely available threatens their profitability in domestic and foreign markets; the intellectual freedom of authors may also be threatened, he said, by discouraging them from submitting to journals that may not align with mandate requirements. On his linkurl:blog,;http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/2008/01/aappsp-response-to-oa-mandate-at-nih.html open access advocate Peter Suber predicts a flurry of lawsuits filed by publishers to halt or delay the inaction of the mandate. Adler told The Scientist that it's too early to say whether this mandate will prompt publisher lawsuits, but he "wouldn't rule out the possibility that publishers might seek judicial review." It depends on how the NIH chooses to implement this policy, he added, given that the general language of the mandate does not specify how it will be implemented in light of copyright laws.
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