The Public Library of Science urges researchers to comply with the new NIH public access policy


February 3, 2005: San Francisco, CA - The Public Library of Science [PLoS] applauds the US National Institutes of Health [NIH] for today's announcement that it expects all of its grantees to make articles arising from their NIH-funded research freely available online in the National Library of Medicine's PubMed Central.

While NIH's Public Access Policy could, and PLoS believes should, have been stronger in several respects, it sets an important precedent for all sponsors of scientific research. "The US government has now endorsed the principle that the results of federally funded research should be freely available to the public," said Michael B. Eisen, Ph.D., co-founder of PLoS. "Scientists and the scientific community now have an historic opportunity make this principle a reality."

PLoS urges all other funding agencies, in the US and abroad, to adopt the progressive components of the NIH policy, and to accompany them with stronger incentives for compliance and shorter periods of allowable delay prior to public access. PLoS urges all scientists to seize this opportunity to ensure that their works are made freely available to their colleagues and the public.

A significant aspect of the plan is its unambiguous stipulation that the authors of NIH-funded research articles are empowered to determine when their papers will be made available to the public, regardless of the policies of the journals in which their works are published. NIH grantees now have an added incentive to publish their work in open-access journals that deposit their full contents in PubMed Central immediately upon publication.

PLoS commends NIH's commitment to establish a Public Access Advisory Working Group, also announced today, which will serve to monitor the implementation and effects of the new policy over the coming months and years. PLoS, itself, will be collaborating with other interested organizations to design and provide tools to make it as easy as possible for authors to exercise their vested authority to make their works freely available online as soon after publication as they see fit, as NIH has urged them to.

PLoS thanks NIH Director Elias Zerhouni for his leadership on this important issue, and looks forward to an ongoing dialogue on the imperatives for timely public access to the products of publicly funded scientific and medical research.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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