Access to science enhanced by new NIH-ASH agreement

Burden removed from Blood authors to submit articles to NIH, publisher embargo maintained

(WASHINGTON, September 15, 2006) The American Society of Hematology (ASHTM) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have signed an agreement that creates a new option for nonprofit publishers to comply with the NIH's Public Access Policy. Implemented by NIH on May 2, 2005, the policy has achieved less than 4% voluntary compliance. This new agreement will substantially increase compliance with NIH's policy thus enhancing access to science, help achieve NIH's goals of managing its research portfolio and developing a digital research archive, and protect the integrity of journal articles while maintaining the publisher embargo period of up to 12 months.

"ASH is pleased to have worked closely with NIH to reach an agreement on this issue," said Kanti R. Rai, MD, ASH President. "This new option enhances public access to the latest science and eases the process of submitting articles to NIH by allowing Blood to submit NIH-funded articles on the authors' behalf."

The new option was originally developed by a group of nonprofit publishers and includes the following provisions:

1) Participating nonprofit publishers will submit to NIH the final version of NIH-funded research articles upon publication. NIH will view the author as compliant with the policy and the author will not incur the burden of submitting and negotiating with NIH.

2) NIH has internal use only of the articles during the journals' embargo periods of up to 12 months.

3) Following the embargo period, NIH can publicly provide links to the articles on the journals' Web sites, and also distribute the content of articles from the National Library of Medicine's (NLM) PubMed Central (PMC) Web site.

As negotiations neared completion, a new provision was added by NIH that allows the NLM to distribute the full content of NIH-funded research articles to foreign country archives.

"ASH has volunteered to have its journal, Blood, be the first participant in this effort," said Bradford S. Schwartz, MD, Chair, ASH Journals Committee, and Professor of Medicine and Biochemistry and Dean, College of Medicine at Urbana of Illinois. "We hope that other nonprofit publishers will also participate. Regrettably, some publishers are reconsidering participation because the new provision is duplicative given the fact that the articles are accessible on the journals' Web sites and will be on PMC."

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The American Society of Hematology (www.hematology.org) is the world's largest professional society concerned with the causes and treatment of blood disorders. Its mission is to further the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders affecting blood, bone marrow, and the immunologic, hemostatic, and vascular systems, by promoting research, clinical care, education, training, and advocacy in hematology.


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