Have you written a manuscript that resulted from NIH funding? Has it been peer-reviewed and accepted for publication in a journal? If so, you should be aware of the NIH Public Access Policy, which went into effect May 2, 2005.
The NIH Public Access Policy requests its investigators to submit to the National Library of Medicine's (PubMed Central) an electronic version of that final manuscript, including all modifications from the peer review process, upon acceptance for publication. A separate submission is not necessary if a manuscript has been accepted by a PubMed Central journal that permits free access within 12 months of publication. (Please refer to this list of these PMC journals.) The policy does not apply to book chapters, letters to the editor, reviews, or editorials. This submission fulfills grant progress reporting requirements by substituting deposit for submission of paper copies of articles.
NIH strongly encourages public release in PubMed Central immediately after the final date of journal publication, but PIs have the option to release their manuscripts at a later time, up to 12 months after publication. You will need to clarify this with your journal publisher. Many publishers are working to revise their author agreement forms to make this more evident. This NIH policy does not change the ability of either the author or the publisher to assert copyright.
NIH has provided the secure NIHMS web site for depositing the manuscripts. The site includes information about the policy and the process. Manuscript files can be uploaded to the system by the PI, or with the author's permission, by a 3rd party designee (such as administrative personnel, librarians, or publishers). To submit a manuscript, no further formatting is necessary beyond that required by the accepting journals. The submission process requires an account for the PI on the NIH eRA Commons or MyNCBI for other designated submitters. Step by step submission instructions have been provided by NIH.
You are encouraged to contact us with your questions and concerns as we work together through the issues of policy implementation. If you have questions about the policy or process, please contact Linda Watson (email@example.com), Lisa McGuire (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Kevin Messner (email@example.com).
-- Linda Watson
Following a summer of pressure from Congress on the subject, and a series of meetings of NIH officials, publishers, advocacy groups, researchers, and librarians, the National Institutes of Health have issued a Notice on Enhanced Public Access to NIH Research Information, marking out an important new position in providing access to research literature funded by the government agency.
The notice states, "NIH intends to request that its grantees and supported Principal Investigators provide the NIH with electronic copies of all final version manuscripts upon acceptance for publication if the research was supported in whole or in part by NIH funding." The manuscripts will be housed in the National Library of Medicine's PubMed Central journal archive service. Open access journals such as those published by BioMedCentral, Public Library of Science, and many other titles already comply with the proposed NIH policy.
NIH currently funds over a quarter of the medical research performed worldwide. The agency's move is a response to the growing unavailability of the research literature to the scientific community, due in large part to rapid inflation over the past decade in the sci-tech publishing sector. The "Open Access" movement has emerged in response to the crisis, seeking publishing models that will provide more consistent access to the research literature to both researchers who produce and read the literature, and to the general public which funds much of the research through NIH, NSF, and other government agencies.
NIH has prepared a web site explaining its stance on public access to the literature: http://www.nih.gov/about/publicaccess/index.htm. The agency seeks comments on its policy proposal. Comments should be submitted by November 16, 2004.
PLoS launched its first journal, PLoS Biology, in October 2003. PLoS Medicine PLoS seeks to publish high-profile research articles in these two flagship journals, to compete in the top tier of publications in their respective fields. PLoS Medicine "aims to publish outstanding human studies that substantially enhance the understanding of human health and disease." After less than one year of publication, PLoS Biology recently increased its online publication schedule to a weekly release, one indication of a welcome reception with the biology research community.
The open access academic publishing movement has emerged as a response to rapidly increasing journal subscription prices, and inconsistent support of online journal access, by many commercial and society publishers. In an open access model, published literature is made freely available to the public, not only to institutions or individuals who can pay the costs of subscription, licensing, and account maintenance. Instead, costs of publication are paid for by authors (typically from research or institutional grants). The co-founders of PLoS, Michael B. Eisen, Patrick O. Brown, Harold E. Varmus, are including in the first issue a message stating their vision of open access with regard to medical journals, their view of who should pay for open access, and a call to authors to use open access journals.
Under PLoS’ open access model, “A complete version of the work and all supplemental materials…is deposited immediately upon initial publication in at least one online repository…that seeks to enable open access, unrestricted distribution, interoperability, and long-term archiving (for the biomedical sciences, PubMed Central is such a repository).” PLoS articles are published with the understanding that all users are free to copy, use, and distribute the article to others (so long as authorship is attributed).
The journal has prepared an FAQ with further details on their publishing model and the publication process. The University Libraries are an institutional member of Public Library of Science. As a membership benefit, authors from the U of M who publish in either PLoS journal will receive a 10% discount on publication charges.
Consistent with its open access policy, PLoS Medicine will be available online for free to the academic community and to the general public. The print form of the journal will also be available at the Bio-Medical and Veterinary Medical libraries.
PubMed Central, the National Library of Medicine’s free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature, has announced new participating journals and the addition of new content. Four new titles, The Canadian Veterinary Journal, Harm Reduction Journal, The International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity, and Retrovirology, have joined PMC and are now available online. Selected back issues of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences have also been digitized and added to the archive.
Developed and maintained by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a division of NLM, PMC archives literature from multiple sources into a searchable, full text database for public use. All articles are peer-reviewed, with over 150 journals currently participating. Non-electronic back issues of PMC journals are being digitized and added to the database. In some cases, back files made available on PMC exceed what is available from the publisher.
Participation is voluntary, with content and immediacy set by each journal. All peer-reviewed, primary research articles must be included, and free access to complete journal contents is encouraged. Some journals prefer to delay public access for a short period, but most make articles available within a year of publication.
PLoS Medicine, a new open access publication of the Public Library of Science, is currently taking submissions for the debut fall 2004 issue. The journal will feature international advancements in all medical disciplines, including epidemiology and public health. Articles will be selected by teams of academic and professional editors, who are supported by expert peer-reviewers.
As an open access journal, the content of PLoS Medicine will be free and immediately available on the PLoS website and in PubMed Central for anyone with an Internet connection to read, download, and redistribute. Publishing costs of the non-profit company are paid by authors, who retain copyright on their published work, using research grant money and sponsors.
This “open access” model of publishing is envisioned as a mechanism to improve access to scientific information. Rapidly rising journal subscription costs in the sci-tech publishing world threaten to severely curtail access to the research literature. See Create Change for more information on open access.
PLoS Medicine is the second open access journal launched by PLoS. PLoS Biology entered circulation in October 2003.
- Heather Bryan, Veterinary Medical Library
The University Libraries, in support of the Open Access publishing model, has paid for a trial institutional membership to BioMed Central (BMC) for 2004. We hope that this membership will encourage researchers at the University of Minnesota to consider BMC journals for submission of articles. This membership enables U of M authors to waive BioMed Central's article processing fee (typically $500). For more information, and a list of articles published in BMC by U of M authors, please see http://www.biomedcentral.com/inst/20200.
Open Access publishing is a model for scholarly publishing in which access to published articles and other information is not contingent on paid subscription to the journal or venue. Rather, the published information is made freely available to any interested users. (Publication costs are recouped via other mechanisms, such as charges to the author or author's institution.) The movement has gained root in part due to the rapidly rising subscription costs of many scholarly journals over the past decade, particularly in the sciences. These rising costs have forced libraries to cancel journal subscriptions, resulting in decreased access to scholarly information for library users. For more information about current issues in scholarly communication, please see the Create Change website (http://www.createchange.org) and brochure (http://www.createchange.org/resources/CreateChange2003.pdf) from SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition).
Readers and potential authors of BioMed Central journals should be cautioned that, for some BMC journals, only primary literature articles are open access, while access to review articles and other "synthetic" or "value-added" articles does require a subscription. The University Libraries are, when possible, purchasing subscriptions to some of these journals (including a print copy of "Genome Biology" at Magrath Library).
If you have any questions or comments about BioMed Central, or other Open Access publishers or journals, please contact Bio-Medical Library staff at: firstname.lastname@example.org.