open access

Open access may become mandatory for NIH-funded research

Martin Fenner
August 3, 2007 1 min read

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is currently recommending public access of all papers from NIH-funded research. Fewer than 5% of research papers have gone this route since the policy went into effect in 2005. On July 19, 2007 the House of Representatives passed the FY2008 Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Bill that will make public access within 12 months of publication a requirement for all NIH-funded work. The bill still has to be approved by the Senate.

What is the policy of other granting agencies on open access requirements for funded work?

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)
On June 26, 2007 the HHMI announced that original research papers by HHMI scientists have to be publicly available within 6 months of publication. The policy goes into effect for all papers submitted on or after January 1, 2008 where a HHMI scientist is first author, last author and/or corresponding author.

Welcome Trust
All publications of research funded by the British Welcome Trust have to be publicly available within 6 months of publication since October 1, 2006.

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
The German DFG has issued recommendations for open access in January 2006. Although scientists receiving DFG grants are encouraged to have their papers publicly available, there is no requirement to do so.

The French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), the National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) and the National Research Institute for IT and Robotics (INRIA) have created publicly available institutional repositories for their researchers. Deposition of papers in these repositories is voluntary.

In summary, there is a clear trend towards making open access a requirement for funding. The taxpayer-funded research agencies – or rather the legislators – have more problems with making this a requirement than the private charities (Welcome Trust and HHMI).

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