The National Institutes of Health (NIH) abruptly cancelled a teleconference with director Elias A. Zerhouni scheduled for Tuesday (January 11), at which he was to announce "a new policy designed to accelerate the public's access to published articles resulting from NIH-funded research."

Zerhouni had planned to unveil the final version of the agency's long-awaited and controversial policy regarding publication of NIH-sponsored research results. The agency's draft version, issued September 3, 2004, requested that electronic copies of all final manuscripts based on NIH-sponsored research be made available through NIH's PubMed Central database 6 months after being accepted for journal publication.

It was anticipated that the final policy would have extended the time frame to 12 months, several sources said yesterday. The change was intended to be a compromise with scientific journal publishers and nonprofit research societies that had argued that open access would negatively affect their businesses or abilities to...

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