As many of you may be aware, yesterday was the first day of the implementation of the new NIH law which requires all articles describing research funded by NIH to be deposited into PubMed Central within 12 months of publication. Folks at SPARC have put together a list of resources one can consult when looking for answers about the implementation of the access policy.
Bloggers on Nature Network as well as here on Scienceblogs.com will write posts about the NIH bill and its implementation throughout the week (the ‘OA week’), informing their readers about the implementation, the next steps to be worked on in the future, and related topics. NIH is collecting public comments on the policy until May 1 so feel free to chime in yourself.
This law is not something that just appeared out of thin air a couple of months ago. As Liz Allen explains:
It’s been a long and winding road to get to this point and PLoS has been closely involved from the very beginning. Inspired by the desire to harness the potential of the internet to foster faster, freer exchange of biomedical knowledge, Harold Varmus, then director of the National Institutes of Health, proposed an electronic publishing site called E-biomed that would provide barrier-free access to the peer-reviewed and pre peer-reviewed scientific literature. After a period of public review (during which E-biomed met with fierce opposition from established publishers, sound familiar?), Dr. Varmus announced the creation of PubMed Central. Launched in February 2000, PMC is the NIH’s free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature and is the repository into which all NIH funded research articles must be deposited from today.
Of course, if you publish with PLoS, you do not have to worry about any of this – we know what to do and we do it for you automatically. The moment your paper is published, it is immediatelly deposited in PubMed Central, so you can go on with your work without worrying about the new law. In today’s issue of PLoS Biology, Harold Varmus exlains:
In contrast, open-access journals, like those published by PLoS or BioMed Central, make their articles immediately and freely available in PMC, eliminating any extra work by the authors and any delay before the articles are fully accessible. Furthermore, these journals permit far greater use of their articles, by allowing readers to explore and reuse the texts under the terms of a Creative Commons license. These degrees of freedom are possible because access and use do not diminish revenues: open-access publishers recover their costs upfront, frequently by charging a publication fee that is paid from research expenses, rather than with subscription charges to libraries and readers. Thus the distribution and reuse of open-access content can be without limit, just as scientists and the public would wish.