NIH announces 'open-access' rules

Critics say 'request' for deposit of manuscript within 12 months of publication isn't enough

Ted Agres(tedagres@lycos.com)
Feb 3, 2005

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) yesterday (February 3) unveiled its long-awaited final policy on publication of sponsored research results, only to draw criticism from both supporters and critics of open access.

The new policy, effective May 2, 2005, "requests" that scientists voluntarily deposit electronic copies of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts with NIH's PubMed Central database "as soon as possible" after acceptance for publication. Authors can specify when their manuscripts would be publicly released, anywhere from immediately to 12 months after publication. The policy also places the burden on scientists to resolve any copyright disputes with journal publishers.

"Scientists have a right to see the results of their work disseminated as quickly and broadly as possible," NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni said yesterday. "We urge publishers to work closely with authors in implementing this policy."

Reaction from nonprofit medical and scientific publishers yesterday was sharp. The new rule "is wasteful...

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