Publishers ask NIH to delay open access

At the National Institutes of Health linkurl:open meeting;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54421/ on the new public access mandate yesterday (March 20), publishers continued to criticize the plan and called for the agency to delay implementing it. As part of the Congressional linkurl:appropriations act;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54028/ for FY2008, all articles arising from research funded by NIH funds must be submitted to PubMed Central within 12 months of publication.

Andrea Gawrylewski
Mar 20, 2008
At the National Institutes of Health linkurl:open meeting;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54421/ on the new public access mandate yesterday (March 20), publishers continued to criticize the plan and called for the agency to delay implementing it. As part of the Congressional linkurl:appropriations act;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54028/ for FY2008, all articles arising from research funded by NIH funds must be submitted to PubMed Central within 12 months of publication. The NIH implemented this mandate on January 11. NIH director Elias Zerhouni said the agency was "all ears" to recommendations of how to best move forward with implementing the policy. Not surprisingly, representatives of the major scientific publishers -- who have voiced opposition to this mandate -- were the first in line of 24 to give their comment to the NIH director and director of extramural research Norka Ruiz Bravo on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Md. Jack Ochs, from the American Chemical Society, gave the first five-minute comment....
(March 20), publishers continued to criticize the plan and called for the agency to delay implementing it. As part of the Congressional linkurl:appropriations act;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54028/ for FY2008, all articles arising from research funded by NIH funds must be submitted to PubMed Central within 12 months of publication. The NIH implemented this mandate on January 11. NIH director Elias Zerhouni said the agency was "all ears" to recommendations of how to best move forward with implementing the policy. Not surprisingly, representatives of the major scientific publishers -- who have voiced opposition to this mandate -- were the first in line of 24 to give their comment to the NIH director and director of extramural research Norka Ruiz Bravo on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Md. Jack Ochs, from the American Chemical Society, gave the first five-minute comment. He started out by saying that a brief meeting was no substitute for the formal comments on rulemaking process like the one the NIH held when they were implementing the voluntary submission program in 2005. He was the first of several to call a halt to implementing the mandate so the details could be worked out. Several publishers said that the NIH's plan for PubMed Central to be a massive, searchable database for research papers duplicates what publishers have been investing in for years. The National Library of Medicine -- which runs PubMed -- plans to reformat the papers, create reference links, and add other add-ons once they are in the database (you can read more about this linkurl:here).;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54412/ Martin Frank from the American Physiological Society said that the NIH is using taxpayer dollars to become another publisher. "Scientific literature is available only due to the money already spent by publishers," he said. Allan Adler, vice president of legal and government affairs for the Association of American Publishers said that the NIH is going far beyond what is required of them by the Congressional language. Even some of the public access supporters who gave a comment had concerns regarding the new policy. They wanted to know how the NIH will ensure compliance to the mandate, who will have access to the manuscripts submitted to PubMed Central, and how authors are to know publication dates of their papers so far ahead of time. At the end of the meeting Bravo reiterated that the NIH will be taking all comments into consideration and that the NIH has issued a request for information open from March 31 to May 31, where the public can submit further comment. The agency will be issuing its report on these comments no later than September 30. All in all, two camps with opposing views on public access clustered together in the aisles during meeting breaks and at the cafeteria tables in Natcher Hall, where the meeting was held. When the meeting was called back to session "everyone comes out of their respective huddles and returns to the line of scrimmage," Ochs jokingly told The Scientist. At the end of the day each side seemed to grow tired of hearing what the other had to say; as he walked up the aisle to leave, Marc Brodsky, former CEO and director of the American Institute of Physics, said to Rebecca Kennison, director of the Center for Digital Research and Scholarship at Columbia University, and supporter of the mandate: "I suppose Columbia is going to give up all patents from government-funded research as well?" Kennison, without making eye contact, simply shrugged and said, "Well..."

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