NIH Calls on Scientists to Speed Public Release of Research Publications|
Online Archive Will Make Articles Accessible to the Public
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced today a new
policy designed to accelerate the public's access to published
articles resulting from NIH-funded research. The policy the first
of its kind for NIH calls on scientists to release to the public
manuscripts from research supported by NIH as soon as possible,
and within 12 months of final publication.
These peer-reviewed, NIH-funded research publications will be
available in a Web-based archive to be managed by the National
Library of Medicine (NLM), a component of NIH. The online archive
will increase the public's access to health-related publications
at a time when demand for such information is on a steady rise.
"With the rapid growth in the public's use of the Internet,
NIH must take a leadership role in making available to the public
the research that we support," said NIH Director Elias A.
Zerhouni, M.D. "While this new policy is voluntary, we are
strongly encouraging all NIH-supported researchers to release their
published manuscripts as soon as possible for the benefit of the
public. Scientists have a right to see the results of their work
disseminated as quickly and broadly as possible, and NIH is committed
to helping our scientists exercise this right. We urge publishers
to work closely with authors in implementing this policy."
"In developing this policy, we made a concerted effort to
balance the importance of this archive to NIH's public health mission,
with the need to provide flexibility for authors, their institutions,
and publishers in those cases where immediate release is not possible," Zerhouni
added. "NIH recognizes the importance of preserving quality
peer review and the viability of a diversity of publishing models.
Nevertheless, we expect that only in limited cases will authors
deem it necessary to select the longest delay period."
The NIH policy will achieve several important goals, including:
- creating a stable archive of peer-reviewed research publications
resulting from NIH-funded studies to ensure the permanent preservation
of these vital research findings;
- securing a searchable compendium of these research publications
that NIH and its awardees can use to manage more efficiently and
to understand better their research portfolios, monitor scientific
productivity, and, ultimately, help set research priorities; and
- making published results of NIH-funded research more readily
accessible to the public, health care providers, educators, and
Beginning May 2, 2005, the policy requests that NIH-funded scientists
submit an electronic version of the author's final manuscript,
upon acceptance for publication, resulting from research supported
in whole or in part by NIH. The author's final manuscript is defined
as the final version accepted for journal publication, and includes
all modifications from the publishing peer review process.
The policy gives authors the flexibility to designate a specific
time frame for public release ranging from immediate public access
after final publication to a 12 month delay when they submit
their manuscripts to NIH. Authors are strongly encouraged to exercise
their right to specify that their articles will be publicly available
through PubMed Central (PMC) as soon as possible.
PMC (http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov), a part of the NIH's National
Library of Medicine (NLM), is the agency's digital repository of
full-text, peer-reviewed biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research
journals. It is a publicly-accessible, stable, permanent, and searchable
The release of this policy follows months of intensive deliberations
with representatives of patient and scientific organizations, researchers,
and publishers. NIH posted the draft policy for public comment
in September, and received and reviewed over 6,000 public comments.
As part of on-going efforts to implement this new policy, NIH
plans to establish a Public Access Advisory Working Group, as a
subgroup of the NLM's Board of Regents. The Working Group will
include representatives of the patient advocacy, scientific, library,
and publishing communities, and will provide advice on implementation
issues and assess progress in meeting the new policy's stated goals.
Additional information on the new policy and related documents,
including a "Questions and Answers" fact sheet, can be
found at: http://www.nih.gov/about/publicaccess/index.htm.
The NIH comprises the Office of the Director and 27 Institutes
and Centers. The Office of the Director is the central office at
NIH, and is responsible for setting policy for NIH and for planning,
managing, and coordinating the programs and activities of all the
NIH components. The NIH, the Nation's medical research agency,
is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
It is the primary Federal agency for conducting and supporting
basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and investigates
the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases.
For more information, visit www.nih.gov.