Due to the growing demand for open access to tax-payer funded research, more and more federal agencies are adopting open access or archiving mandates as a condition of funding. Here are some of the largest:
On January 11, 2008, in response to an act of Congress, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced a revision of its Public Access Policy. Beginning April 7, 2008, principle investigators must ensure that electronic versions of any peer-reviewed manuscripts arising from NIH funding and accepted for publication must be deposited in PubMed Central (PMC), NIH's digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature (http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/). These articles will be made freely available to the public no later than 12 months after publication. This policy applies to any peer-reviewed journal articles resulting from research supported in whole or in part by direct funds from NIH. In addition, beginning May 25, 2008, anyone submitting an application, proposal, or progress report to NIH must include the PMC or NIH Manuscript Submission Reference Number when citing applicable articles that arise from their NIH-funded research.
Who is affected?
This Policy applies to you if your peer-reviewed article is based on work in one or more of the following categories:
Important information on rights
The NIH emphasizes that it is the author's responsibility to ensure that they retain the right to deposit their manuscript with PubMed Central. Some publishers require that you transfer copyright prior to acceptance of publication; NIH warns that you should avoid such journal if their contract does not allow you to deposit articles in PubMed Central. Other publishers in their publication agreements ask you to warrant that there are no prior agreements concerning the publication and that the publisher will own all rights. If you submit a manuscript to PMC prior to signing such an agreement, you would be in breach of the agreement and in violation of NIH policy. If your publisher does not participate in PMC, there are 3 approaches you can follow to be in compliance:
1. Read your publication agreement carefully. Make sure that you have the right to deposit your article with PMC. The SHERPA/RoMEO site at http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo.php has information on the policy of many journals regarding PMC deposit.
2. If there is any question about your rights, add the following language to the publication agreement: "Journal acknowledges that Author retains the right to provide a copy of the final manuscript to the NIH upon acceptance for Journal publication, for public archiving in PubMed Central as soon as possible but no later than 12 months after publication by Journal." Please note that this language only reserves the right to deposit your article in PMC, it does not retain your right to copy your article for use in teaching or research, use it as a basis for derivative works, or to make your article available on a personal web site or other digital archive.
3. Alternatively, attach the Scholar's Copyright Delayed Access Addendum to the publication contract. The Addendum is a legal instrument that acknowledges any prior grants (including those required by funding agencies). It also provides you with other important rights, including the right to use your article in your own teaching and research, the right to build on the article in future publications, and the right to deposit the PDF version from the publisher with PMC. An online engine that generates the Addendum is found at http://scholars.sciencecommons.org/. Note that the engine currently creates an agreement with a six month delay; this can be changed manually if the journal insists on PMC delaying access for the full 12 months.
Complying with the new requirement
The voluntary NIH Manuscript Submission System is still in place at http://www.nihms.nih.gov/, and you may wish to start depositing your articles now in order to familiarize yourself with the process prior to the start date of the new policy. Arizona State University Library staff can walk you or your designated agent through the steps.
How the new reporting requirement will help you
The new requirement should work to the benefit of ASU authors. Deposit in PMC ensures that the research results will be preserved in a state-of-the art digital repository. Free access after 12 months will maximize the visibility of your research and ensure that researchers and students around the world will be able to read and build on your work, regardless of their (or their library's) ability to subscribe to the journal in which the research is published. Preliminary research suggests that articles that are freely available are cited more often and have a greater impact rating than articles that are locked away behind subscription walls. As David Shulenburger, Vice President for Academic Affairs at the National Association of State University and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC), has noted, "public access to publicly funded research contributes directly to the mission of higher education. Improved access will enable universities to maximize their own investment in research and widen the potential for discovery as the results are more readily available for others to build upon."
Adapted from an information sheet created by Cornell University Library