Senator questions open access mandate

More questions have come up over the new National Institutes of Health public access mandate and its fairness to journal publishers. Two weeks ago Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter sent a letter to NIH director Elias Zerhouni questioning whether the NIH had adequately discussed the mandate with journal publishers before implementing it. Specter is a ranking member of the appropriations subcommittee that oversees NIH funding. The NIH public access mandate was passed with the congressional app

By | February 26, 2008

More questions have come up over the new National Institutes of Health public access mandate and its fairness to journal publishers. Two weeks ago Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter sent a letter to NIH director Elias Zerhouni questioning whether the NIH had adequately discussed the mandate with journal publishers before implementing it. Specter is a ranking member of the appropriations subcommittee that oversees NIH funding. The NIH public access mandate was passed with the congressional appropriations legislation linkurl:last month;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54028/ and requires that all research funded by the NIH be submitted to Pubmed Central within 12 months after publication. The mandate does "not outline a process for seeking the advice and comment of journal publishers, scientists, or any other interested parties," Specter wrote. The legislation says that the mandate should abide by copyright laws but does not specify how it will be implemented. Because authors transfer some copyrights to publishers when journals agree to publish their articles, the journals' policy must allow them to deposit their articles in Pubmed Central, according to the NIH legislation. While two-thirds of publishers have some kind of post-publication linkurl:public access;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54301/ policy, the American Chemical Society and Association of American Publishers have objected to the mandate, saying it is a violation of copyright law. Norka Ruiz Bravo, deputy director of extramural research at the NIH, told linkurl:Chemical and Engineering News;http://pubs.acs.org/cen/news/86/i08/8608notw2.html that the NIH has been talking with publishers throughout the development of the policy. As of April 7, all articles arising from NIH funding must be submitted to PubMed Central.

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