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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Fw: Welch News: NIH Public Access Plan To Take Effect May 2, 2005

Beginning May 2, 2005, NIH funded researchers will be asked to submit voluntarily to the NIH National Library of Medicine's (NLM) PubMed Central (PMC) an electronic version of the author's final manuscript upon acceptance for publication, resulting from research supported, in whole or in part, with direct costs from NIH. After several months of heated debate, the policy was made public on February 3, making federally-financed research open and freely available to taxpayers and scholars alike. Scientific publishers opposed the plan, but other groups have hailed it as an historic moment in giving the public free access to information.

The author’s final manuscript is defined as the peer-reviewed, final version accepted for publication. Depositing one’s work is not mandatory, but scientists are widely expected to comply. NIH director, Elias A. Zerhouni, asks that scientists release their findings as quickly as possible, not delaying for the full 12 months. Aside from making research rapidly available to the public, the policy will create a stable, searchable archive of peer-reviewed research resulting from NIH funding.

Authors’ final manuscripts may be submitted in the usual electronic formats accepted by journals, e.g., most word processing formats or PDF. Once the manuscript has been submitted, the system will assign a PMC identification number and generate an e-mail to the author(s) confirming their submission. In cases in which the Principal Investigator (PI) is not an author, a courtesy e-mail will be sent to alert the PI of the submission. Corrections of content errors and other necessary revisions of authors’ final manuscripts will be accommodated.

At the time of voluntary submission to PMC, the author will specify when their final manuscript will be publicly accessible through PMC. Posting for public accessibility through PMC is strongly encouraged as soon as possible (and within twelve months of the publisher’s official date of final publication).

As additional details and instructions on the use of the PMC manuscript submission system become available, these will be posted on the NLM PMC website at http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/. More information about the NIH Public Access Policy can be found at http://www.nih.gov/about/publicaccess/index.htm.

The journal, Neurobiology of Lipids (NoL), has already gone on record welcoming the NIH plan and announcing that they have met quality requirements for PubMed Central archiving. They urge authors to think of them when selecting a place to publish. They are developing a software tool that will simplify direct publishing to an archive. When scientists publish in NoL, their work will also automatically be archived in PubMed Central. NoL invites other funding agencies to follow NIH’s lead and other journals to consider depositing full text in PubMed Central.

In a recent letter to the Public Library of Science Community (PLoS), the three founders of PLoS, Drs. Harold Varmus, Patrick Brown and Michael Eisen, urged authors to (a) publish papers in open-access journals that already deposit their papers to PubMed Central or (b) if authors publish in non open access journals, deposit those manuscripts into PubMed Central and exercise the right to stipulate that they be posted online immediately after publication.

Brian Brown, MLIS
Communications Librarian
Welch Medical Library
The Johns Hopkins University

410.502.7568 (Welch)
410.502.0995 (BRB)


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