From SPARC e-News (http://www.arl.org/sparc):
The Washington Post reported on Jan. 18 that a proposal to make the results of federally funded biomedical research available to the public for free “has been scaled back by the National Institutes of Health under pressure from scientific publishers, who argued that the plan would eat into their profits and harm the scientific enterprise.”
NIH’s official announcement of the policy, originally slated for January 11, was scrubbed at the last minute to prevent it from coming up during confirmation hearings for Michael Leavitt, President Bush's nominee to head the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, of which NIH is a part. However, details of the public access policy were quickly disclosed in various news accounts.
The revised NIH plan reportedly abandons the six-month embargo on public access in favor of a scheme under which the embargo duration would be left up to NIH investigators, with a maximum of one year. That change has angered many advocates of public access, who have argued that a year is too long and that NIH has abdicated its responsibility to taxpayers.
“At a time when there is widening pressure for greater public transparency at NIH,” SPARC Director Rick Johnson wrote in a message to SPARC members, “it is vital that the agency take bold steps to dramatically expand access to NIH research.” SPARC has called for the policy be changed to no more than a six-month cap and urged that NIH provide strong signals to grantees about its expectation that research should be available to the public as soon as possible.
The Alliance for Taxpayer Access has publicly released its January 11 letter to Dr. Elias Zerhouni expressing disappointment at the delay in the announcement of the NIH public-access plan. For further information: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2005-01/wc-aft011305.php.
SPARC encourages those interested in this issue to communicate their views to Michael Leavitt, Secretary of Health and Human Services, 200 Independence Ave., S.W., Room 615-F, Washington, DC 20201. Fax 202-690-7203.
Public announcement of the NIH policy could come as early as this week.
The final version of the Report from the CIC Summit on Scholarly Communications: Access to Journal Literature is now available on the CIC website: http://www.cic.uiuc.edu/groups/CICMembers/archive/Report/SCSreportJan2005.pdf
Following a remarkable year for the spread of open access ideas and the gathering of momentum for real change, the New Year begins with an announcement by JISC of the winners of funding under the second round of its Open Access programme. Following the success of the first year of the JISC programme, the decision has been made to award five publishers funds to support open access delivery for their journals.
A total of £150,000 will be awarded to some of the key scholarly publications in their fields. These journals are: The New Journal of Physics (published by the Institute of Physics Publishing); Nucleic Acids Research (Oxford University Press); Journal of Medical Genetics (BMJ Publishing Group Ltd); the journals of the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr); and The Journal of Experimental Botany (The Society for Experimental Biology). JISC funding will ensure the waiving of all or part of the submission/publication fees for all UK HE authors. The New Journal of Physics, the IUCr and the Journal of Experimental Botany were successful bidders in the first round of funding, these further funds enabling them to consolidate the considerable gains made during the first year of the programme.
Preliminary results from the first year of the open access programme show that JISC funding has enabled significant advances to be made by the successful publishers and their journals in terms of submissions, access, visibility and costs:
The New Journal of Physics has seen UK submissions increase by 300% in the last six months, while access to articles from UK users has risen 71%. The journal's impact factor has risen from 1.76 to 2.48. The Journal of Experimental Biology has seen access rise by 27%, with JISC support enabling the journal to maintain its subscription costs at the 2004 level. Access has risen by some 300% for the journals of the International Union of Crystallography, "making UK crystallographic research much more visible worldwide." Uptake of PLoS Biology, a new journal, has been "remarkably robust", and JISC support has helped PLoS's strong advocacy role, including oral testimony to the House of Commons Select Committee by Harold Varmus, founder of PLoS.
Peter Strickland, Managing Editor of the IUCr journals, welcomed the continued investment represented by the second round of the JISC programme: "I am very pleased that the IUCr has been awarded a second round of funding by JISC. This will give valuable impetus to our open-access publishing initiative, which has received very positive feedback from our authors and editors, and has significantly increased access to structural science research worldwide."
"With the rapid growth in Open Access options, the ability to fund publication charges has become an important consideration in the decision where to publish," said Ken Lillywhite, Journals Business Director at Institute of Physics Publishing, another second-time recipient of funding. "By funding publication charges for New Journal of Physics, JISC has effectively removed this barrier for every British scientist working in a HEFCE-funded institution. Since JISC's decision to offer financial support for authors publishing in our journal, we have received many more UK papers from scientists working in British universities. We look forward to further growth in 2005."
Mary Traynor, Managing Editor of the Journal of Experimental Botany said: "The Journal of Experimental Botany is the only high ranking plant science journal offering an Open Access option to all plant scientists. We have been highly encouraged by the initial success of our policy and the JISC award will support development of our initiative in addition to enabling us to waive Open Access fees for UK authors."
Professor Eamonn Maher, Editor of Journal of Medical Genetics, commented: "I think this is a very exciting development that will be followed with great interest by journal editors, authors and subscribers. The JISC support has provided a wonderful opportunity to study the possible consequences of an open-access policy for a clinical medical journal."
"We are delighted that JISC is supporting our open access initiative with Nucleic Acids Research," said Martin Richardson, Managing Director of Oxford Journals at Oxford University Press. "NAR is one of the most prestigious journals to make a complete switch to open access, and our University Press status means that we're keen to experiment with, and learn from, new distribution models that might help make research more accessible. Support from JISC will really help us and our authors test the viability of this model."
Lorraine Estelle, JISC Collections Team Manager, who announced the results of the second round, said: "The first round of this programme has been a significant success, giving us some much-needed evidence of the potential of open access to stimulate research and to make visible the outputs of researchers in the UK. We look forward to the further success of this programme."
A further round of funding will be made available to the publishing community later in 2005.
For further information, please contact:
Lorraine Estelle (JISC) on 020 7848 2563 or 07767 297171 or e-mail:
Fred Friend (JISC) on 01494 563168, or 07747 627738, or e-mail:
Peter Strickland, Managing Editor, IUCr Journals - 01244 342878 or
Mary Traynor, Managing Editor, Journal of Experimental Biology - 01524
594587 or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Tim Smith, Publisher, New Journal of Physics mailto:email@example.com
Andrea Horgan, Managing Editor, BMJ Publishing Group Ltd - 020 7383 6263
Rachel Goode, Communications Manager, Oxford Journals, OUP - +44 (0)1865
353388 or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org