Senate Approves Open Access Mandate for NIH: Recommends Change to Existing NIH Policy

The Alliance for Taxpayer access announced yesterday that the Senate Appropriations Committee has agreed to direct the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to require that research it funds be made directly available on the Internet without barriers to access. Articles would have to made available no later than 12 months after publication, through the National Library of Medicine’s freely accessible online archive PubMed Central.

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Existing Policy

If this new policy were to go into effect, it would change the existing 2005 NIH Public Access Policy, in which submission of articles to PubMed Central is requested, but not required. The voluntary policy has not resulted in significant submissions; fewer than 5% of eligible manuscripts have been deposited.

Steps Needed to Take Effect

The new policy faces several steps before it would take effect. It would need approval by the Senate (in the FY08 Senate Appropriations Bill), approval of a similar bill by the House, reconciliation of these two bills, and then the signature of the President.

More Information

More information on this recent Senate approval is available from the ATA press release.

More information about open access goals and efforts is available from the scholarly publishing website, or by contacting