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Open access to US govt work urged

Publishers argue change could undermine the industry and limit authors' options

Alison McCook(abmccook@yahoo.com)

A US House of Representatives committee has recommended that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) provide free access to all research it funds and asked the NIH to submit a plan by December 1, 2004 for how to implement the new policy in fiscal year 2005.

The committee's report stipulates that NIH deposit the final manuscript and any supplemental materials from NIH-funded research to PubMed Central 6 months after publication. And if any publishing costs are covered by NIH funds, the research would be available immediately upon publication. The recommendation must be approved by the Senate before going into effect.

The announcement last week, lauded by proponents of open access, came just before a similar development yesterday (July 20) in the United Kingdom, where the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee recommended that the government insist that government-funded researchers deposit a copy of their scientific papers in an electronic...

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